Thursday, July 24, 2014

Book Bucket List | Brain Twisters

Recently, my friend Marnie asked me a few questions.  Turns out this was a riddle, and I was pretty terrible at figuring out the answers.  I only got one out of four right. (I'm a perfectionist so I felt pretty awful about this.)

See if you can figure out the answers to this riddle:

  1.    How do you put a giraffe into a refrigerator?
  2.    How do you put an elephant into a refrigerator?                
  3. The Lion King is hosting an Animal Conference.  All the animals attend ... except one. Which animal does not attend?                                 

 4. There is a river you must cross but it is used by crocodiles, and you do not have a boat.  How do you manage it?                

Here are the answers:

 1 . Open the refrigerator, put in the giraffe, and close the door. This question tests whether you tend to do simple things in an overly complicated way.   

2.  Open the refrigerator, take out the giraffe, put in the elephant and close the door.  This tests your ability to think through the repercussions of your previous actions.      

3. The Elephant.  The elephant is in the refrigerator.  You just put him in there.       

4.  You jump into the river and swim across.  All the crocodiles are attending the Animal Conference.  This tests whether you learn quickly from your mistakes.  

I thought this was a really fun exercise.  If you want to see more riddles and questions like this, check out these books from our libraries!


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Learning | Mankind's Giant Leap

I've mentioned before, that my father was an aerospace engineer who worked for the Apollo program (among others.) When I first started school, I would tell classmates that my dad was an engineer, and many  of them assumed he rode on a train all day. So I tried to explain that he designed spaceships. Then I would get questions about whether he wore magnetic boots, so he could climb up the side of a rocket to build the top. I relayed that query to my father. After he stopped laughing, he said,"No."

(Actually, I think he did not ever climb on things at work. He probably did a lot of math. I grew up drawing on the back of pages and pages of logarithms.)

Dad faced a formidable critic in his mother-in-law, my Grandma Nell.  She warned him that mankind should not be traveling in space--if they tried to send men to the moon, the spaceship might bump into an angel!

I think of my grandmother when I watch the servants in shows like Downton Abbey--especially Daisy, the cook's helper.  Nell was born in an industrial city in Scotland, at a time when many children were expected to work, instead of going to school. Nell was not fortunate enough to have educational opportunities beyond the fourth grade.  Her first job was polishing silver at a department store. (Like Daisy, she was also an excellent cook, by the way.)

She happened to be visiting us at the time of the Apollo 11 mission, when the entire country was mesmerized by the telecasts of man walking on the moon. We all gathered around our black and white TV in the den. Did I mention that she was hearing impaired? Apparently, she did not hear that there were two astronauts exploring the moon in their spacesuits.  

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin deploying the U.S. Flag. From NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's photostream on Some rights reserved.

Which would explain why we suddenly heard her shriek loudly that there was AN ALIEN coming up behind Neal Armstrong!  Of course, the rest of us quickly assured her that it was another astronaut, Buzz Aldrin.  The incident seems funnier now, but at the time, she was so sincerely upset, that we didn't dare laugh about it.

The first moon landing caused a sense of wonder in most of us; I remember going out in my front yard that night, looking up at the moon, and thinking, there  are humans up there! My grandmother's moment of panic also caused me to think about how much life had changed since 1901, when she was born. My generation took so many things for granted: radio, automobiles, air travel, television, refrigerators, tv dinners, and too many appliances to mention.

Plaque from First Flight Lunar Project: "You are never too young to dream." From Jack Pearce's photostream on Some rights reserved. This plaque commemorates the site in Warren, OH, where a six-year-old Neal Armstrong took his first ride on an airplane. There is a replica of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module at this site. For more information, visit

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ms. Suzy Reads | In a Box?

One of my favorite passages from the timeless classic Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss is this:

Would you eat them
in a box?
Would you eat them
with a fox?

Not in a box.
Not with a fox.
Not in a house.
Not with a mouse.
I would not eat them here or there.
I would not eat them anywhere.
I would not eat green eggs and ham.
I do not like them, Sam-I-am. 

I don't know why this makes me giggle, but it does...especially the line about not eating in a box.

Speaking of boxes, I just came across an awesome craft book entitled Build It with Boxes by Joan Irvine. If you're looking for some pretty inexpensive fun, this book is chock full of great ideas. From mini-golf to a robot to your own triceratops! Don't throw away that old box! Repurpose it into something FUN!

And speaking of boxes even more: Did you know the Library now has Storytime Kits that can be checked out for 3 weeks? These are themed "storytimes in a box" that young children (and older children, too!) will enjoy. Each box contains 5-7 pictures book based on a theme, an activity book, a nursery rhyme booklet, and either a puppet or a flannel board and story. Click here for more information about storytime kits! 

That's it for now! Happy Reading!!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Just Life | Library Book In The Surgery Center

Two weeks ago, I had to accompany a family member to St. Joseph hospital for surgery. 

In the room where we were waiting, nurses were busy administering IVs to patients before sending them to surgery. 

Then all of a sudden, I noticed a lady coming in with one of our library books in tow, getting ready for her surgery.

I almost jumped out of my chair. "THAT IS OUR LIBRARY BOOK, THAT IS OUR LIBRARY BOOK." I bellowed to my companion.

So, how did I know that her book belonged to our library system? That is because the book she was carrying had our signature "Yellow New Book" Sticker on the spine.

I was so happy and proud that one of our library books is giving that patient some needed distraction before her surgery.

Since we are talking about the most unusual places to take a book, here are my co-workers stories about reading in the most unusual places: 

 Astronaut James Voss reading a book in space. Pic from
      • I used to read under the coffee table when I was younger. Coming from a family of nine, space was at a premium. But there was always space under the coffee table
      • When I was a young girl and didn't want to do anything but read, my mom kept telling me that I needed to be outside more, and she would make me go outside, so I usually climbed a tree to read or sometimes hid in the corn stalks to read.
      • One day, when our oldest son was about 3, he disappeared. We called and called him and looked everywhere. Finally, we found him in the bedroom closet with the door slid open just enough to get a ray of sunshine on his book. Even though he couldn't yet read, he was so engrossed in the book he never heard us calling--or chose to ignore us.
      • When I was working in downtown Oakland, and wanted to be alone to finish a book, I'd take them onto the roof of the office building.
      • Disneyland. I was reading "The Lovely Bones" while standing in line for rides at Disneyland. At one point in the queue for Peter Pan, a woman passed me in a different part of the line and said, "Oh, that's a great book!"
      • I take a book everywhere, when we travel I can't stand to watch someone else drive so I read. I've read while camping, at the lake, at the beach, in the woods (after hiking), in other states (trips), back yard in a lounge chair while tanning, and under a tree. 
      • While getting a pedicure, Jury duty, In a tree house, On a cruise boat. I've also listened to books while gardening, hiking, vacuuming, driving, biking. 

        I think the most unusual place that I used to read books for distraction was during the air raids in Tehran, during Iran-Iraq war. The whole time, I was praying to God to spare our house from all the bombs and all the guided missiles flying right above our heads.

        Signing off until next Monday- Panteha