Friday, October 24, 2014

Another Riveting Non-Fiction Book

In an earlier post, I said that I was going to share non-fiction books that I read that I love.  Of course, I have posted a grand total of one non-fiction book.

Today, I am going to double that total and add a second!

I recently listened to "A Fractured Mind: My Life with Multiple Personality Disorder" by Robert B. Oxnam, and read by William Dufris.  Holy cow, was it amazing.  If you have ever doubted the existence of MPD, I highly recommend that you read it/listen to it.  The book will erase any suspicions you have.

Robert B. Oxnam wasn't diagnosed until he was in his (if I remember correctly) late 30s.  When originally diagnosed, he had 11 distinct personalities.  By the end of the book, 8 of the personalities had merged, and he had three left.  Those three, Robert, Bobby and Wanda, were learning to partially merge and coexist.

The book, written in the first person, included his life before he was diagnosed, his therapy, and his life after diagnosis.  It was fascinating and a truly remarkable account.

I highly recommend it!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

If I'd Been Given This Book, I'd Never Have Become a Librarian

Okay, I was weeding some books and came across this one.  Take a look at the little boy in front.

Need a closer look?

I saw this and decided he must be thinking, "This is the most terrifying bedtime story I've ever heard.  What the f*#^?!"

What is hilarious is that I showed it to a coworker, and the first thing he thought was that the little boy in back was…ahem…perhaps acting a tad inappropriate?

Either way, this little boy's expression is hysterical, and I can't believe this painting is on the front of this textbook.  And yet I'm so glad it was.  HA!

I Love My Cubicle. I'm Serious.

And I may be the only person in the United States who loves his/her cubicle this much.  But an office?  Where I can think?  And concentrate?  This is a very novel experience for me, and I am so appreciative of it.

Okay, first you need to know that I've been given a double-wide cubicle!  The space is amazing.  I haven't even filled it all.  But don't worry, I will.  Here is side one, where I do most of my work.  Notice how neat the desk is.  It does not look like that anymore.

Between my two cubicles…windows!  And get this, they open.  Not only do they open, but I am allowed to actually open them!

This is my other cubicle.  It will fill up very quickly.  It looks so pitiful and empty now.  No children's librarian's space should look so sad.

Now I'll share some pictures of the Maine State Library itself. 

The MSL shares a building with the Maine History Museum and the Maine State Archives.

It's called the Cultural Building.

The Cultural Building is on a campus with other state departments.  The Capitol itself is right across a parking lot.

They're doing work on the dome.

One thing I've never had to think about before…I've been told that during the legislative session, parking is nearly impossible to find.  Luckily, I am part of a van pool, so I don't have to worry about that.  But what a strange thing to consider.

I Walked Around Portland, and What Did I See?

I now live in Portland, ME.  As I walk around town, I've been seeing the funniest things.  I finally remembered to bring my camera, so here are some of my favorite sights!

You will probably not be shocked that this is outside of a church, but it still cracks me up.

Okay, here's what you need to know about this picture: other than the red awning (and the blue-roofed information hut), the front of that building is painted.  Yes, it's true!  Those archways?  Painted.  The balcony?  Painted.  I think this is mind-blowing.  It just looks so real!

In fact, you can walk closer and closer, and it still looks real.  (The brown fence and fairy lights are real -- the patio is a restaurant.)

This cracks me up, because the window pane cuts Ms. or Mr. Treworgy's name in a very unfortunate place.  I mean, unless it's a secret message.  I find it amazing that Ms./Mr. Treworgy didn't notice this.

Okay, more to come!  This is just a taste.

P.S. I love it here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Where in the World Is Shannon Schinagl?

I am having so much fun studying maps of Maine.  Since I will be traveling all over Maine for both work and fun, I've been examining maps of the state quite closely.  Every time I e-mail someone, talk to someone, or hear someone mention a place, I look it up on the map.

What I have discovered is that the whole world is contained in Maine!

Allow me to explain:

We begin in Europe, where we make stops in the English cities of Avon and Bath.  While there, we'll pop over to Northern Ireland to visit Belfast.

Let's cross the English Channel to France, and we can discover the wonders of Calais and Paris.  Then we'll trot around more of Europe, visiting Lucerne in Switzerland; Naples and Verona in Italy; Vienna, Austria; and both Stockholm AND Sweden -- separately!  It's a magic trick!  And we can't forget the countries of Denmark, Norway and Poland.

Now we'll take the long way back to the Americas via China, before stopping in Mexico.

After such international travel, let's visit a few domestic cities.  Let's travel east to west, beginning with Princeton, NJ!  I hate to admit it, but we will also stop in Cleveland, Ohio.  I'm sorry.  Let's continue on to Detroit, MI.  Come on, Detroit!  The entire country is rooting for your recovery!  We're going to fly all the way to Alaska now to visit Fairbanks!

And finally, the last stop on our tour, and possibly the most exotic: Purgatory.

I love that Maine has all of these countries and cities as locations within the state.  And if you happened to click on any of those links at all, you'll see that every town is absolutely beautiful.

I hope to keep track of everywhere I visit in Maine on this blog, so you'll probably see these names again!  And when you do, I should have stories and pictures to go along with them.

If you want to look at a map of Maine yourself, get a very big, very detailed one.  A lot of the towns and cities in Maine are very, very tiny, and you'll need a good map to find them all.  I'm getting a huge one at work, which I'll back with foam core.  I plan to stick little flag pins on the map to note where I've gone!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

I'm Going to Be a…Patron?!

It occurred to me that for the first time in 14 years, I am going to be a patron.  Not an employee/patron.  Just a patron.

I won't get to go behind the reference/circulation desks to help myself.  I'll have to ask with everyone else.  I'll have to actually make time to pick up holds, since I won't be at the library for work every day.

This is going to be very weird.  Portland Public Library, I apologize if I overstep!  I'm going to have some hard habits to break.

Onward and Upward (Seriously!)

I'm moving to Portland, ME!  I used to live in Seattle, WA, in the very upper northwest.  Portland, ME, is in the very upper northeast.  I wonder if I subliminally want to be a Canadian?  I seem to live as close as possible to the Canadian border without actually moving across.

Anyway, I landed what is pretty much my dream job.  I'm going to be the Early Literacy Coordinator (to put it briefly -- my actual title is so long that I can't even remember it) for the State of Maine, thanks to a partnership between the Maine State Library and the Department of Health and Human Services!  This is a brand new job, so my supervisors and I will be figuring some of it out along the way, but mainly (Ha!  No pun intended.) I'll be traveling all over Maine, coordinating with children's librarians, parents, HeadStarts, preschools and child care providers.  Basically, anyone who has a stake in ages 0-5 years.  I'll also be providing resources and training where appropriate.  There will be more to it, but that's the basis.

One of the things I'm most looking forward to is working partly with the public, but also partly in an office.  I'm a little burned out on working with the public every day, all day.  I love working with the public, but it's hectic, and there's no time to think.  There is never time to read an article and ponder the implications, or really consider the best way to create and implement a program.  Being a public librarian is definitely a job of doing, doing, doing.  I am so excited to be able to sit and plan and reflect, not just react.

This job basically plays on all of my favorite parts of children's librarianship.  Toss in some animals and a few more immigrants, and I wouldn't be able to dream up a better job for me!

A huge bonus of this job is that I'll be moving to Portland.  I have yet to meet anyone -- including a random guy in Starbucks -- who doesn't rave about Portland.  I already have an apartment in the neighborhood I wanted -- Munjoy Hill.  The commute to my job, which is in Augusta, will be about an hour.  That sucks, but eventually I will travel enough that it won't really matter where I live.  Plus, I hope to be able to join a vanpool so that I don't have to be the one driving, and I can snooze a little longer.

I shall keep you all updated on my travels, especially my adventures throughout Maine.  (They have moose crossing signs on the highways!)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I Dare You...

Sterling's new favorite place:

This is funny, because if I ever tried to wash her, I would lose a limb.  I think she is mocking me.

Going to the Chapel!

My sister, Allyson, got married to the most wonderful guy, Kevin.  The wedding was absolutely perfect: intimate and personal.  Allow me to share!

The wedding was in Prescott, AZ, which is up in the Yavapai Mountains.  That means that it was sunny and beautiful, but a lovely temperature of mid-70s, rather than the living hell that is Phoenix.

The chapel Ally and Kevin chose was very small and historic, and overlooked a lake where they fish.  It's called Chapel of the Valley, and the lake is -- surprise! -- Fain Lake.

Ally and Kevin met thanks to Superman.  At the time, Kevin worked at Circle K.  Ally went in to buy some sort of pink doughnuts that she likes.  As she handed Kevin the money, he saw the Superman tattoo on the inside of her wrist.  He immediately showed her the Superman tattoo on his arm, and true love was born!

Here, a wedding gift from family friends Barbara and Richard.

As a result, my Dad and Allyson walked down the aisle to the Superman theme song.  As maid-of-honor, this gave me a lot of responsibility.  I had to walk down the aisle and get in place just in time for Ally and Dad to appear at the crescendo.  Luckily, I played my part well!

After the wedding, my Mom and sister had planned a little picnic of appetizers down at the lake while Ally, Kevin, the wedding party and parents got all of the wedding photos taken.  This was a brilliant idea!  No cranky guests due to starvation!

Here are a few of the candid photos that were taken by wedding guests.  (The official photos haven't arrived yet.)

First, in tribute to the Superman theme…

At Ally's feet is the best man, David.  Kevin is the one being assaulted by the veil.  It was a very windy day.  Ally's veil had a life of its own.  It should have its own Facebook page, like Angelina's leg or something.

The mother photo!  My Mom is on the far right, and Kevin's two Moms are on the left.

Mom with Ally and Kevin...

Me and Al...

Me, Ally and Mom...

Ally, Dad and Sue.  And the veil, once again with a life of its own.

Ally, Kevin, and Kevin's Moms.  And Al doing the poof pose.

The Schinagl fam...

Me with flower boobs…

Ally and Kevin's first dance...

Anyway, it was absolutely lovely, and I loved every minute of it!

I may have to post again when the official pics come in.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Parental Guilt, Without the Kids

Every morning as I leave for work, this is what I see as I walk out the door.

Nothing makes you feel worse than your cat staring mournfully at you through the banisters (knowing full well that it makes her look like an inmate) as you turn your back.  Sigh…

And the thing is that the minute she hears the door lock, she probably thinks, "Finally!  Now I can go back to sleep without interruption."  I'm probably reading into the pitiful expression.  She's probably watching to make sure I actually leave.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Am I in Seattle?

I am moving to Portland, ME.  (More on that in another post.)  I was apartment hunting, and when I went to see a potential apartment I realized that the Portland neighborhood of Munjoy Hill was eerily like Upper Queen Anne in Seattle.  I have photographic proof!

First of all, you must be familiar with Kerry Park in Seattle.  It's a park with an amazing view of downtown Seattle and Elliott Bay.  It's the view you see on a lot of Seattle postcards.

Kerry Park in Seattle:

The little park I found in the neighborhood of Munjoy Hill in Portland:

View of Seattle from Kerry Park:

View of Portland from this little park (keep in mind that Portland, ME, is a shorter city than Seattle, and doesn't have a volcano in the background):

Holy COW is it hard to find a view of Elliott Bay from Kerry Park!  Everyone is so enamored of the skyline, I guess, that they ignore the Bay, which is just as beautiful.  Anyway, I have NO idea who these people are; it's just the best image I found.  View of Elliott Bay from Kerry Park (the Bay is to the right of the skyline):

View of Back Cove from the little park (water is to the right of the skyline):

Okay, if you are in Kerry Park and facing the Seattle skyline, to the left is a set of stairs to take you down to the street; it's too steep for a path or street:

Same thing at this little Portland park:

At the bottom of the Kerry Park steps is a playground with a field, and then a great big house next to the field (I can't find a picture that includes the house):

No playground, but field next to a big house at the bottom of the Portland park steps (and, if I recall correctly, the house next to the Kerry Park steps is also blue):

Now, if you are at Kerry Park in Seattle, facing the skyline, and head to your left, you get to Queen Anne Avenue about a block or two away.  Queen Anne Avenue at that point is where all of the stores, restaurants, cafes, etc. are.

Same thing at this park in Portland!  Face the skyline, head left, and…TA-DA!

Anyway, I can't wait to move to Munjoy Hill in Portland, ME.  Obviously, I will feel right at home!  I hope I can remember which city I'm in.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Riding (Walking) the (Now-Defunct) Rails!

One of my favorite places in Newburyport is the Rail Trail.  I walk it all the time.  It's one of those trails that used to be a railroad, but is now defunct and turned into a trail.  Since I'm moving (more on that later), I took lots of pictures to share.

There are several place to access the Rail Trail.  I usually get on here, where the trail crosses a road not far from my house.

There are homes on either side of the trail for part of it.

As you can see, it's a paved path.  There are always lots of cyclists and rollerbladers.

As I said, there are many places to access the trail.  The trail is in a sort of gully.  When one accesses the trail from a street, there is always a set of stairs heading down to the trail, as well as a ramp for anyone with wheels.

There is lots of sculpture along the trail which I really enjoy, because most of it actually looks like something.  The one below is "Wishbone," and it actually looks like a wishbone!

There are lots of signs that tell about the railroad of yore.  It's really interesting, like these stones.

It's hard to read, but this shows an old picture of the roundhouse, where the trains used to turn around.  I love the pictures they include.

I don't really get this sculpture.  I guess it has to do with the trail being used for biking?  It is at the end of a bike ramp down to the path.  But I do like turning the wheel using the pedal.  I love interactive sculpture.

This sculpture cracks me up!  Someone stole the nameplate, but it's pretty obvious.  A guy and his dogs made from bike parts!  Just FYI, there are always a million dogs being walked on the path.

The path crosses an old railroad bridge.  The street below is Low Street, one of the few access points where the ramp goes up.  Go figure.  Ha!

I don't really get this sculpture.  Torrential Flight?  For anyone who doesn't know me well, I like art that is what it says.  I guess I'm not imaginative enough to appreciate a lot of modern art, or anything very interpretive.

I do like this one.  It's pretty cool, and I get it.

Newburyport is very cool in that it has a windmill that supplies a lot of energy.  I always marvel at it.  The windmill is so much bigger than it looks.  This is a view from the trail.  See the top?

This is a door at the very top.  I once saw a man up there, and he didn't even fill the door.  That perspective gives you an idea of how tall the windmill really is.  It's huge.

There are lots of fun little gardens along the trail that local groups care for and plant.

One of my favorite parts of the trail (this won't be a shock to any of you), is the ice cream shop right off the trail!  I think it's both hilarious and genius that they actually put a sign on the trail to indicate the path to ice cream.  It's very good ice cream, by the way.

As you can see, they get lots of business off the trail!

Another sculpture I like.  It's obvious!

What's really fun is that the Rail Trail ends at one end at the  -- get ready -- actual train station!  I've taken this train several times.  It goes straight to Boston, and I'd rather take the train than drive.  It's mostly a commuter train, though.  You should see the parking lots during the week.  They're packed.

Okay, we're turning around now…

First, a couple of things I didn't show above because people were in the picture.

This is probably one of my favorite sculptures on the trail.  I love that the artist named him, and even more that he named him Clyde.

On this walk, I found one of these orange and black caterpillars!  I haven't seen these since I last lived in Pittsburgh!  I loved these caterpillars, even though they do terrible things.  Just so you know, I moved this little guy off the path so he wouldn't get smushed.  Plus, I love to feel their prickly little bodies and watch them curl up in a ball.  So part altruistic and part selfish.

I adore this little train.  It took a long time for me to get a picture of it without swarms of kids playing on it.  I get on it, too, so I can't blame them.

Decorated walls.  I really enjoy that.  There are a lot of decorated bridges in Phoenix, and Seattle had some fun ones on overpasses.  It's cool that cities add art to things that would otherwise be boring and/or ugly.

A picture of the old train station.

Along this part of the trail there are a bunch of birdhouses.  I don't know who made them or why, but I just love them!  Once you start looking for them, they are all over the place.  These are only a few examples.

Yikes!  A horrible event, but I'll admit that I love the picture.

Eventually the Rail Trail crosses another bridge and heads down to the Merrimack River.

Looking at the above picture, if you head up to the right, you come across a seating area and this sculpture.

This is a picture of that area from below.

If you head left and down, you get here:

You also get to this sculpture.

I do not get the title.  Personally, I'd call it Hugs & Kisses.  It looks like Xs and Os, and it's red!  Sadly, no one asked me.

This sculpture creeps me out big time.  I do not like it, Sam I Am.

Then the path continues along the river.  It's not the Rail Trail anymore.  I don't know what it's officially called.  I call it the River Trail.

I would love to live in one of those condos.  Sadly, I don't believe they were built for public servants.  Ha!

The path continues along the river, and various boat-loading and -unloading ramps (which I'm sure have a more official name) are seagull resting places when the ramps aren't in use.

Also, ducks!  All over the place!

This is the end of the trail in this direction.  The excellent thing is that I live one block from this end of the trail.  I'm a lucky girl.

Later, walking the River Trail in the other direction!