Saturday, July 19, 2014

Books On Film | The Paradise{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVER
This one comes from a patron at the Tracy Library. 

The Paradise, originally titled Au Bonheur des Dames (The Ladies' Paradise), by Emily Zola was published in English 1883. It tells the story of a young woman, Denise Baudu, who moves to Paris with her younger brothers to become a salesperson at a department store. The reader is given a view into the working conditions of female workers during the mid-nineteenth century as well as being treated to good dose of backstabbing and intrique.

A two season television series based on the novel was recently produced by the BBC and Masterprice (previously Masterpiece Theater). It aired in the UK and the US. If you are a fan of BBC period dramas, like Downton Abbey and Mr. Selfridge, this might be a show and book for you.

Cover courtesy of LibraryThing.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Wanderlust Librarian | SF Giants, sudoku and me!

Obligatory artsy fartsy hotel picture
Recently, I had a chance to to have a mini-staycation of my own in Dublin. Even though it's only 45 minutes away, it felt worlds away from the familiarity of my house. My best friend, Lizzie, was going to see a Giants game on Saturday night. On Sunday afternoon, Lizzie and I were going to meet other friends for another Giants game. Lizzie didn't want to have to come back to the Valley so she and I decided to split the cost of a hotel room in Dublin so we could take the BART back the next day. 

I worked until 5 that night and knew that an evening of decadent nothing awaited me. It's rather exciting to get to stay in a hotel after one gets off work. I knew that Lizzie wouldn't be out of San Francisco until at least 11:00 P.M., so what to do? 

First off: dinner. What was I going to do for dinner? The area I was near was Hacienda Crossings . As you can tell, there were tons of places for dinner. I opted for... hotel nachos. It was a bad choice. It's not worth talking about anymore. After one of the worst meals I've ever had, I went to the bookstore. 
Don't panic, I only bought 1 book

Ah, the bookstore. My beacon. My muse. My best friend in the dark, dank memory of hotel nachos. DANG IT, I mentioned those stupid nachos again! It was time to turn my night around with a book. Some of you may think, "A book? She lives works at the library! Why would she buy a book?" 

Valid questions, all. 

Recycling my pictures
is how I live! 

I use only pens when doing sudoku so I can't cheat. I made
a teeny boo-boo at the bottom where I wrote another number.

Easy answer. I needed a new sudoku book. Library rules dictate that you shouldn't write in ANY book, so I decided to get one I could doodle in. Okay, not DOODLE... but write in. Permanently. My night was saved!!

I made sure this picture was big. See what I ate breakfast next to? Gorgeous!

The next day, Lizzie and I took an early BART ride to the City to enjoy wares at my favorite place, the Ferry Building. I'm sure that nobody truly knows just how much I love this place (click here). We had breakfast at Il Cane Rosso. There was nothing wrong with how perfect everything was. I say again, it's the best Sunday trip! If you haven't gone, GO GO !! 

Softly scrambled eggs over toast. So eggy, so buttery,
absolute perfection on a plate. 
A non-berry, fresh peach jam on thick, fresh toast! 

After a hearty and satisfying breakfast, Lizzie and I finally started on our way to the ballpark. We took a Pedi-cab and it was so fun! It's a great way to feel like you're part of the City and get an exciting ride!

The weather at the ballpark was beyond amazing. The skies were an alluring blue, the sun was blazing up in the sky and there is no finer view in all the world than baseball and the San Francisco Bay in the background. We were lucky it was Pixar Day! Disney AND the San Francisco Giants? It's a fantastic day! 

Not including the baseball game, which takes up a nice long time, we really spent a nice half a day on the East side of City. If that's half a day, you know there's more in store discovering the rest! 
A cool lemonade at the ballgame. It's a MUST for me! 
He's my absolute favorite! 

Don't let numbers scare you, sudoku is a fun number puzzle where math ISN'T involved!! Learn more about it in these books. Don't worry, it's easy to learn and once you've got it, it doesn't take much to work towards harder puzzles! 

Everything 15 Minute Sudoku Book
Master Sudoku

It's still summer, so take yourselves out and enjoy that lovely weather on the Coast. Take your time, take some great pictures and soak in all of the best things in your life! 

Until next week! 

Your favorite library bloggess! 

Book Bucket List | The Heiresses

I'm a very impatient person.  I'm well aware of this fault and have to remind myself to be patient all the time.  This even applies to the books I read.  I've never enjoyed mysteries very  much because I just want the book to get to the point already!  My impatience is the reason why I've never read very many mysteries, except maybe for school or a book club.  However, we recently got a huge shipment of new books and one book in particular caught my eye.  It was The Heiresses by Sara Shepard, and it happened to be a mystery.

I knew Sara Shepard was a popular author, she penned the very popular series Pretty Little Liar which is now a TV show.  So after reading the jacket, I decided to give it a chance.  The Saybrook family seems to have it all.  They own one of the most successful jewelry stores around (think Tiffany's) and are one of the most envied families in Manhattan.  However, their family is cursed with accidents and tragedy.  After one of their own is found dead (again!) they band together to try to figure out who is attacking their family.

This was a fun read for me.  The characters live these unbelievable lives, so it was fun to escape into that for a little while.  And honestly, I liked reading about their clothes.  Though it was still a mystery, and I wanted more clues and the plot to move forward a little more than it was, but I still enjoyed it.  It's a very fluffy mystery, not too dark and grisly.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Learning | STEM and Stems

Recently, I was searching the library catalog to see what new science books SSJCPL has for young students. One outstanding book is a biography, from a new series of biographies called the STEM Trailblazer Bios. The only one our library system has is the one about Astrophysicist and space advocate Neil deGrasse Tyson.

The term STEM (an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math,) made me think about plant stems, so I went searching for pictures of plant stems on I hadn't expected to find these beautiful cross-sections of various stems among the photos, but I thought you might like to have a look at them--especially the Creepy Corn Stem!

Zea mays stem (left) and root (right) cross sections - prepared slide from Carolina Biologicals. You can clearly see the difference in the arrangement of the vascular bundles - the stem has an atactostele (scattered bundles) while the root has a eustele similar to what you would find in the stems of dicot plants (but here surrounded by the root tissues pericylce and endodermis).

Corn Sections - Raynox Macro. From BlueRidgeKitties' photostream on Some rights reserved.

Stained Zea mays stem cross section - prepared slide from Carolina Biologicals, observed through the 10x objective of an Olympus IX81 microscope. Is it just my imagination or do those vascular bundles look like creepy brainless skull-like faces?
Creepy Corn Stem, from BlueRidgeKitties' photostream on Some rights reserved.

Mosaic of prepared slide, taken using MicrOcular through Bresser Biolux AL., and processed using Autostitch.
Cotton Stem, from dayglowill's photostream on Some rights reserved.
This image shows details of a vascular bundle from a young stem of a buttercup (Ranunculus sp.), a dicot. The red cells at the bottom of the image are xylem vessels. The smaller vessels in the centre are known as protoxylem, and are those first formed when the stem is elongating. The larger outer cells are called metaxylem. These cells mature later, when the stem has finished elongating. During their development, the cellulose walls of vessels become impregnated with lignin. Lignification supports the vessels and prevents them collapsing under tension. During the process of lignification the cells die and form continuous non-living tubes that transport water and mineral ions from the roots.   Above the xylem is a region stained green, which contains the phloem. Phloem consists of sieve tubes, which transport the products of photosynthesis from the leaves, along with their associated companion cells. Sieve tubes are living cells, but they lack nuclei. Each sieve tube has cytoplasmic connections to a smaller companion cell that provides the energy requirements of the sieve tube.   Between the xylem and phloem are some very small, undifferentiated cells called the cambium.   Cambium within a vascular bundle is called fascicular cambium. The parenchyma cells between vascular bundles can also develop into interfascicular cambium. This results in a complete ring of cambium around the periphery of the stem, which can divide mitotically and differentiate to produce more xylem and phloem, during the process called secondary thickening.

Transverse section of a vascular bundle of a young stem of a buttercup (Ranunculus sp.) Image by John Adds, from Science and Plants for Schools' photostream on Some Rights reserved.

This image shows a transverse section of part of a stem of Sunflower (Helianthus annuus), a dicot. It shows the development of secondary thickening. The first stage in this process involves the fascicular cambium (in the vascular bundles) being connected up by the formation of interfascicular cambium in the parenchyma between the bundles. This forms a complete ring of meristematic tissue, which divides to form rows of secondary xylem and fibres towards the centre of the stem, and rows of secondary phloem sieve tubes and companion cells towards the outside.   In this vascular bundle the red tissue at the top is sclerenchyma. Below this is an area of phloem (stained green), which contains primary phloem to the outside and secondary phloem towards the centre of the bundle. Below the phloem is secondary xylem, which has formed a complete ring of tissue around the stem. The primary xylem, with its large metaxylem vessels and smaller protoxylem, can be seen below the ring of secondary xylem.   The width of the vascular bundle is about 360 µm.   Image by John Bebbington FRPS
Transverse section of part of a stem of Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) showing secondary thickening. From Science and Plants for Schools' photostream on Some rights reserved.

Transverse section of part of a three-year old twig of Lime (Tilia vulgaris) showing the structure of a woody stem, from Science and Plants for Schools' photostream on Some rights reserved.

Rushes are monocots that live in wetlands such as bogs and marshes, and in damp woodlands. This section shows part of a stem of a Rush (Juncus sp.). Plants that are adapted to live in water or wet conditions are known as hydrophytes.   The stem is hollow and contains star-shaped (stellate) cells in a tissue called aerenchyma. The abundant air spaces in aerenchyma allow air to reach the root systems, which are usually submerged in waterlogged soil.   The stem is photosynthetic, with palisade tissue underneath the epidermis, interspersed with groups of fibres (red). Below this cortex are the scattered vascular bundles typical of a monocot.   The diameter of the large vascular bundle is about 170 µm.   Image by John Adds
Transverse section of part of a stem of a Rush (Juncus sp.) showing aerenchyma.  Image by John Adds, from Science and Plants for Schools' photostream on Some rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

She's Crafty | Craft Program and the RCF

Last time we met I told you about a teen program I was going to do, the one with the beads and the Morse code...Well, it is now an event of the past and I'm glad to report that it went well! There are only a few things that I would change when it comes to doing a jewelry craft program. Just a few tweaks to make it easier for participants. I also took a few mental notes about general programming for the future, which is going to be a big help for programs that are already in the planning phase. More on that in the future!

One of my biggest concerns going into the program was attendance. What if no one shows up?! What if too many show up?! What if, what if, what if...but, my fears were for naught--for a teen program we got good attendance with about 20 people in the room! This number included two helpers (thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!), a mother hanging out with her two teens, the same mother's two little ones playing in the back with storytime toys, and me! Check out all the fun...


Free faire fun!
In other crafting news, this weekend coming up Kaye and I will be attending one of our very favorite craft events, the Renegade Craft Faire!

Yay, the RCF! Known fully as, the Renegade Craft Faire San Francisco July Market. A.K.A., the craft faire that is free. Yes, free! A.K.A., the most popular craft event I have ever attended, e-v-e-r! If you'd like to attend too, the event is this Saturday and Sunday, July 19th and 20th, from 11 am to 6 pm at the Fort Mason Center Festival Pavilion. For more information, check out the event webpage.

For the RCF, Kaye and I will brave the crushing masses to find little pieces of crafting bliss. We shall feast our eyes on all the innovative craft items and utter a goodly amount of "ohs" and "ahs" at all the beautiful colors and textures. We will circle the limited parking spaces near the Fort Mason Center and end up parking a mile or more away just to enjoy some full-on craft immersion. To say that I'm excited is an understatement. This is an excitement that should be accompanied by horns, a jig or two, and some confetti. And I can't wait to tell you all about it!

Until next time, stay crafty my friends.
Malia & Kaye

Ms. Suzy Reads | And Gets Powerful

Here comes a confession: I used to not eat breakfast. I know, I know. This is not good for me! But I never seemed to find the time to eat breakfast. So I would wait until lunchtime to get a little nourishment, and for the record, by 10:30 am I was starving!

That's the old me. 

Then I met Jafra, Irene, Jessica and Veronica. They inspired me to change.

Jafra, Irene and Jessica are recent graduates of University of the Pacific. Veronica is a student at Stagg High School here in Stockton.

The four of them have come up with a totally FUN, free, and awesome learning opportunity for students in grades 4 through 6: Move, Play & Grow: How Carbs, Fats & Proteins Power Your Day. This special program will be held on three consecutive Tuesdays -- July 15, 22, and 29 -- from 3:30-4:30 pm at the Chavez Library. 

In this interactive program, children will learn about nutrition, energy and physical movement. They'll learn about how WHAT we eat helps us have the ENERGY we need to do the things we enjoy. It's a win win!

And if you're interested in learning about this right now, here's a book to help you do just that: Food and Energy: Striking a Healthy Balance by Kristin Petrie. This book will teach you about nutrition labels and serving sizes. It will teach you about the food pyramid. It will show you how to be healthy!!

So mark your calendars for Move, Play & Grow at the Chavez Library. Today at 3:30 pm. 

We'll see you there!

Happy Reading!


Monday, July 14, 2014

Just Life | Panteha Makes Croque Monsieur

Three years ago, my daughter and I ventured to Paris for a week. On one cold November morning, we walked for more than an hour from our hotel to Notre Dame.

By the time we walked around that old church and climbed numerous spiral stairs to meet the gargoyles, we were famished.

So, we bought two Croque Monsieur from a nearby coffee shop.

That sandwich was really delicious. I wanted to replicate that sandwich ever since.

 But somehow, I never found the time to make a legitimate Croque Monsieur.

The other day, I was leafing through this new book by David Lebovitz called: "My Paris kitchen: recipes and stories " and all of a sudden, I came across the Croque Monsieur recipe.  My friends, the time to make this French Yumminess had arrived.
To be honest, Croque Monsieur is just a fancy Grilled Ham and Cheese for the lack of better word. However, it is a very delicious Grilled ham and cheese and it has a Bechamel sauce on it as well.

The recipe from the book sounds pretty easy and it doesn't require that many ingredients. Just Dry-cured ham, Gruyere cheese, butter, flour, sliced bread and milk. 

The first step is to make a Bechamel sauce to brush on the sliced breads before assembling the sandwich and broiling it.

Yesterday morning, I went to buy the three main ingredients. I went to Panera to pick up a fresh French loaf for $8. Then, I went to Safeway to buy the Gruyere cheese and the cured ham. I was shocked by the price of the Gruyere cheese. Two small pieces of Gruyere cheese was $18. The Cured ham was almost $9. 

Heaven, this is going to be a pricey dinner.  

It took me 5 minutes to make the Bechamel sauce. The remaining ingredients were easy to assemble.

I was a bit disappointed that neither my husband nor my daughter were overly impressed by my Croque Monsieur.  I confess, I didn't follow the broiling steps religiously.  I was a bit impatient I guess.

Anyway, I am not giving up yet. I am going to work on my techniques until I get it as delicious as the one that I ate in Paris. 

Just wish me luck!

So how many of you out there love the Croque Monsieur as much as I do?

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha