Monday, May 16, 2016

Reading into Retirement!

It's been a full year since I retired from full-time employment.  I figured that full-time retirement would give me plenty of time to READ--but surprisingly, that has not been the case. Oh sure, I have read some great books.  But during the past year, I also discovered how amazing it is to finally "have the time" to work on projects that you "have always wanted to do."   Some of my projects have included, 1. Painting all the rails on a big red barn (two coats).  2.  Filling an old farm feed bunk with dirt and flowers. 3.  Cleaning out the three stall garage so that three cars could actually be parked inside the three stalls.  4.  Turning a bedroom into an office.  5.  Collecting milkweed seeds, planting milkweed seeds, and tagging monarch butterflies.  6. Acquiring shelves and then organizing a very large book collection upon them.  7.  Joining boards and committees for great organizations and projects.  8.  Finally having the time to more fully appreciate nature, by taking walks, enjoying wildflowers, and hunting for mushrooms.

Another project I "always wanted to do" was to do more writing--which I have done--just not on a blog.  So today, I am finally back to my blog with the best of intentions.  And we will see where it goes.  It's been four years since my last posting!

Shortly after retiring, I started my own little business.  I call it KICK Marketing (the acronym I  like is Keeping It Creatively Kaiser) and it is designed as a way for me to continue my passion for books, authors, and events.  I've quite a bit of writing--helped a couple of clients with some newsletters, a few news releases, and planned several author events.  Now, I am looking forward to helping a local art gallery host book-signings and of course, I love helping Alice at Beaverdale Books in publicizing local writers.    I've had the pleasure of getting to know dozens of new people in Perry thanks to a Latino grant project (which included some library events and an author event with Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Sonia Nazario, and now I am working with folks at Perry Public Library, the Forest Park Museum, and the Carnegie Library to put on some more fun author events.  I will be writing about them soon.

Last month, I hosted members of the Published Authors Liaison who were blown away by the Carnegie Library Museum and LaPoste in Perry.  And I have even had a couple of author events at the Hotel Pattee--Zachary Michael Jack with his hilarious book Corn Poll and J. Ryan Stradal for his marvelous story called Kitchens of the Great Midwest.   And I can't forget the memorable evening with one of my all-time favorite poets, James Autry who brought his wonderful words to LaPoste for a very special event sponsored by Hometown Heritage.

Last week, I fell and sprained my ankle--while enjoying nature and hunting for mushrooms!  It's a bad sprain--but it's not all bad.  You see, it forced me to sit with my foot up--and sitting at the computer with my foot elevated, gave me the incentive to return to this blog.  Then, while re-reading some of my past postings, I was reminded that many of my friends really do like to know what I'm reading--and I love recommending books to them.

So here goes--I'm back to blogging.  And we will see where it leads.   Thanks for reading.  

Sunday, February 26, 2012

What do you like to read?

Fiction or nonfiction? Rags to riches or romance? Historical novels or hysterical escapades? Whatever you enjoy, the 2012 AViD (Authors Visiting in Des Moines) Author Series is sure to have a program that is"just your type"!

Tracy Kidder
Tuesday, March 27
7:00 PM, Hoyt Sherman Place Theater
Tracy Kidder will kick off the 2012 AViD Author Series with a discussion of his best-selling story, Strength in What Remains, selected by the Iowa Center for the Book as this year’s All Iowa Reads title. It’s the story of Deogratias, a young man who flees from civil war in Burundi, then Rwanda, becomes homeless in New York City, graduates from Columbia University, and builds a heath care clinic in Burundi that is free for those who cannot pay.
Kidder earned an A.B. from Harvard and an M.A. from the University of Iowa. He has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Award, and many other literary prizes. He is the author of Strength in What Remains, Mountains Beyond Mountains, My Detachment, Home Town, Old Friends, Among Schoolchildren, House, and The Soul of a New Machine.

Wil Haygood
Monday, April 23
7:00 PM, Central Library
Wil Haygood will share insights from his trilogy of biographies In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis, Jr., King of Cats: The Life and Times of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., and Sweet Thunder: The Life and Times of Sugar Ray Robinson, which was a runner-up for the inaugural 2010 PEN/ESPN Book Award for Literary Sports Writing. Haygood is also the author of The Haygoods of Columbus: A Love Story and Two on the River.
Haygood is a 2011-2012 Guggenheim Fellow and Washington Post national reporter. He has won many awards for his writing, including the New England Associated Press Award and the National Association of Black Journalists Award for Foreign Reporting. He is also a Pulitzer Prize finalist for his work at the Boston Globe.

Erik Larson
Wednesday, May 2
7:00 PM, Hoyt Sherman Place Theater
Erik Larson returns to Des Moines on tour for his best-selling book, In the Garden of Beasts, the story of William E. Dodd, a mild-mannered history professor from Chicago who was chosen by Roosevelt to be America's first ambassador to Nazi Germany.
Erik Larson, author of the international bestseller Isaac’s Storm, was nominated for a National Book Award for The Devil in the White City. He is a former features writer for The Wall Street Journal and Time magazine, where he is still a contributing writer. His magazine stories have appeared inThe New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, and other publications.

Steve Berry
Thursday, May 31
7:00 PM, Scottish Rite Temple
Steve Berry will stop in Des Moines to discuss his newest book, The Columbus Affair, a book that follows investigative journalist Tom Sagan, after his professional reputation crashes and burns. Fate intervenes in the form of Zachariah Simon, who desperately wants something only Sagan can supply: the key to a treasure with explosive political significance in the modern world.
Berry is the New York Times’ bestselling author of The Paris Vendetta, The Charlemagne Pursuit, The Venetian Betrayal, The Alexandria Link, The Templar Legacy, The Third Secret, The Romanov Prophecy, and The Amber Room. He has ten million books in print, translated into forty languages and sold in fifty-one countries.

Larry Baker
Monday, June 18
7:00 PM, Central Library
Iowa City author Larry Baker will talk about his upcoming book Love and Other Delusions, which follows the story of Alice Marcher, who is dying, but still trying to understand her life. She was thirty when she met eighteen-year-old Danny Shay. Twenty years later, they parted. Alice insisted, “It lasted so long, so it must have meant something, right? We weren’t a cliché, were we?”
Larry Baker was fifty in 1997 when he wrote his first novel,The Flamingo Rising, one of three finalists for the Barnes and Noble “Great New Voices” award, later adapted for a Hallmark TV movie. The Flamingo Rising was also selected by the Iowa Center for the Book to represent Iowa at the National Book Festival in 2010. His other works include Athens/America and A Good Man, which was nominated for the Southern Independent Booksellers Association Book of the Year in 2010.

Meg Cabot
Tuesday, July 10
7:00 PM, Hoyt Sherman Place Theater
Des Moines will be one of the first stops for best-selling author Meg Cabot as she promotes her newest book, Size 12 and Ready to Rock. This is the latest in her popular Heather Wells mystery series, which features a teen pop sensation who is dropped by her record label and takes on a new career as a spunky girl detective.
Cabot is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of books for both adults and tweens/teens. She is well known for the Princess Diaries series, as well as numerous other award-winning, bestselling standalone books, including All-American Girl and Avalon High. Her newest series include the tween hit Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls, the Young Adult trilogies Airhead, and Abandon. Meg’s first paranormal romance for adult readers, Insatiable, was followed by a sequel, Overbite, in July 2011.

Each program begins at 7:00 PM. All events are free and open to the public, and seating is based on a first-come, first-served basis. Books will be available for purchase and signing from The Book Store or Beaverdale Books. The public is also invited to a dessert reception following each program hosted by the Des Moines Public Library Foundation.

The 2012 AViD Author Series is sponsored by the Des Moines Public Library Foundation with generous funding from Humanities Iowa and Douglas and Deborah West. Additional support has been provided by Wells Fargo, Dr. Richard Deming, Hoyt Sherman Place Theater, Drake University, the Scottish Rite Consistory, and the Des Moines Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Patience Pays Off with Pampered Pets

Meeting authors is always a privilege, but hosting an author like Sparkle Abbey is just plain FUN! Don't miss tomorrow evening's special event featuring a writing team from Des Moines. Come to the Central Library Tuesday, November 1 at 6:30 for the launch of their first book, Desperate Housedogs! Sparkle Abbey is the the psuedonym of two mystery writers (Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter). Mary Lee and Anita both have written for years. They have traveled to various writing conferences together and have attended dozens of book signings and author events. The pen name is a combination of the names of their rescue pets--Sparkle (Mary Lee's cat) and Abbey (Anita's dog). I first got to know Mary Lee years ago when she was the president of the Iowa Romance Writers Association. She came to all of our AViD author programs, and she worked in the City of Des Moines Action Center! Mary Lee was always really good about suggesting writers and I know that she "talked up" our author series whenever she travelled to writing conventions. When we brought in authors like Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Janet Evanovich, and Diane Mott Davidson, Mary Lee was always in the audience! And here is where the patience pays off! Desperate Housedogs is the first in a series of four books that they are calling their Pampered Pets series--fun, cozy mysteries with a pet therapist main character who solves murders. I spent a good part of the weekend fully immersed in the advance copy. If you love animals and are looking for a light-hearted read, plan to stop by the Central Library tomorrow night. Mary Lee and Anita have invited folks from the Animal Rescue League to stop by, just in case you might be in the market for another pet....and rumor has it that there may even be some dog bone cookies and coffee to share, too!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Michael Buble's "Feelin' Good" As Never Done Before

If you are a baby boomer like me, senior living is quickly taking on a new meaning. But just because we're getting older doesn't mean we can't still have fun. Watch this video to see how a group of seniors at the Clark Retirement Center in Michigan prove they still know how to have FUN!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Consider This

It's easy to take life for granted. Here's a profound five-minute talk from someone who survived the Hudson River plane crash and no longer takes life for granted.

Friday, July 22, 2011

A New Fresh Franklin

Wow! Just had a sneak peek inside the soon-to-be completed remodel of the Franklin Avenue Library and it is quite impressive. There’s an expansive new walkway on the southeast corner of the building. Upon entering the building, my first impression was of how warm and inviting the colors are. Much of the shelving is in place already and some of the furniture has been delivered.

Almost double the size of the old building, it’s challenging to remember where things were before. The Circ Desk is roughly in the same place and there’s an expanded area for additional checkout stations. There’s a small conference room and study rooms! The meeting room is on the southwest corner and it’s beautiful, equipped with new AV and a colorful carpet.

There’s a whole new Teen area with spaces for homework and lots of plug-ins for laptops and Wi-Fi users. Adults are going to love the extra lounge seating and the fireplace near the north wall. The librarians are creating neighborhood collections of popular subjects like politics, green living, cooking for those patrons that love to browse the collection. The cherry wood furniture is sure to complement all the books. And the colorful lighting fixtures sprinkled throughout the building are just delightful. It’s like they have blended retro with futuristic.

But wait till you see the Kids area! Colors have blossomed across the walls, the floors, and along the counters. The circular story room, with its two-story windows, sky light, and bench seating is the perfect spot for parents to sit with youngsters just learning to read. There’s even a “chair and a half” designed for lap-reading. Toddlers can play peek-a-boo through the interior windows of the story room and there are kid-sized counters for craft activities.

The move begins next week. Staff members are excited to re-claim the building and fill it with more than 108,000 books and materials. The wait is almost over. (And I haven’t even mentioned all the green features. More on that in another blog.)

See you at the ribbon-cutting on Sunday, August 21 at 3:00 PM!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Skype's the Limit

The DMPL is offering a free program about how to use Skype™ next Tuesday, July 26 at 6:30 PM at the Central Library. So this past weekend, I decided to get a little head start by downloading a Skype app onto my Galaxy Tablet™. And it was simple to do! I signed up for an account. And that was simple too!

Then I decided to test it out with my Oregonian daughter. I called her Skype number and she immediately answered, which was very cool! We could hear each other, but she couldn’t see me and I couldn’t see her. So I tried pushing buttons, and looking at the settings, and my daughter kept insisting that I should just click on the change settings button next to her picture.

She is a pretty typical twenty-something, sarcastically offering the suggestion to get her little sister to fix it for me! I felt like a Luddite—but after several attempts with increasingly exasperated comments from my daughter, I did a little research via Google and discovered—lo and behold--visual communication doesn’t work on the tablet__yet! (Wouldn’t it have been nice if they had mentioned that when I downloaded the app?)

So then I fired up our laptop computer and I wasn’t a Luddite after all! It worked like a charm and we had a delightful face-to-face conversation. It takes a little while to get used to keeping your face aligned with the computer’s camera but it is well worth the effort. I wish I would have tried it sooner. The best line of Sunday’s conversation was when I moved the laptop and my daughter remarked, “Gee Dad, you’ve lost a lot of weight—oh sorry, I guess I am looking at the lamp!”

We also discovered that it can drive your pets crazy to talk to them via Skype, especially when you have dogs on both ends barking and running around looking for the other pet at the other end of the line!

If you have family or friends across the country that you’d enjoy “seeing” while you talk with them, I’d like to encourage you to sign up for a free Skype account. If you’d like to learn more about Skyping, join us at a free workshop called The Skype’s the Limit on Tuesday, July 26 at 6:30 PM in the Central Library Meeting Room. Hope to see you there!