Monday, March 13, 2017

What are People Reading These Days?

Avoid shoveling the snow, stay inside and curl up with a good book. Since March is National Reading Month, I want to highlight the Friends of the Library (FOL) Used Book Sale at the Olney library. Other volunteers and I sift through, organize and shelve donations from local residents. We receive and sell bestselling novels, nonfiction, popular children’s (preschool through teenage) books, even DVDs of recent movies – all for 50 cents to one dollar a piece! 

A few years ago, I shared my unscientific observations of the Olney community based on donations to the MGH Women's annual used book sale. While working on FOL Used Book Sale, I've noticed trends in donations, including: 

*   Romance novels (Nora Roberts, Danielle Steele, etc.)
*   Erotic romance (series like Fifty Shades of Grey, Bared to You, One Night Promised/Denied, Beneath This Man)
*   Crime (James Patterson, Patricia Cornwall, etc.)
*   Travel (guidebooks, foreign language phrase books, travelogues)
*   Self-help/inspirational nonfiction (Chicken Soup for the Soul series, Eat, Pray, Love, etc. )
*   Humor (Chelsea Handler, Mindy Kaling, Woody Allen, Dave Barry, etc.) 

If this selection truly reflects readers’ tastes, Olney seems to be an escapist community, traveling through guidebooks, frothy romances, erotic tales, whodunnit mysteries, Zen/”finding oneself” memoirs or just good old-fashioned humor.

Visit the FOL Used Book Sale at the Olney library to find a bargain “staycation” … or at least to spy on what other people read.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

More Post-Valentine's Day Dating Advice for Couples

Post-Valentine’s Day greetings! Keeping romantic fires burning is a challenge, so here is more Post-Valentine's Day Advice for Couples -- or more specifically, middle-aged longtime married couples/partners. For kicks, please read my tips from last year (Part 1, Part 2) and 2012.

Driving Date: Imagine riding in back of a horse-drawn carriage through Central Park (but not behind Rusty, Kramer's sick horse on Seinfeld) or zooming through the countryside in a convertible! The Olney version would be being chauffeured by a newly licensed (but safe) teenage driver through Route 108 or Georgia Avenue traffic.

Foodie Dining Date: Try a new type of restaurant cuisine. Enjoy the atmosphere of low romantic lighting ... but bring a flashlight so you can read the menu and see what you're eating. 

Pre-meal Exercise Date: If you have to wait for a table at the restaurant, take a brisk walk around the block to chat while burning off calories before tucking into your gourmet meal.

Or eat in with home-cooked meal. First buy ingredients on a Foodie Shopping Date: find gourmet food at Roots or try less expensive fare at one of Olney's grocery stores: Giant, Safeway, Harris Teeter and Shopper's. For the cheapest food in bulk, try Costco or Sam's Club. You two will have plenty of time to chat while waiting in the checkout line.

Fashion Date: Inspired by Richy Slyons' post "I can see clearly now, whoa", I thought a fun and creative date could be a trip to the optical store to try on different styles of reading glasses. 

Faux Jetsetter Date: Renew expired passports at local (i.e., Ashton, Brookeville, Derwood, Aspen Hill) post offices that accept and process passport applications.

Nesting Date: Visit friends at Leisure World and gawk at the amenities. Count the number of years until the kids move out of the house and you two are old enough to move there.

May the flames of romance continue to burn throughout 2017! 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Freecycle Fun

I love, which has an Olney group
Do you ever find yourself cleaning out items (or unwanted gifts) in perfectly good (sometimes new-and-still-in-the-package) condition? Great for giving away unneeded items that can be used by others, is convenient to use: just post any item to give away as an “Offer”, communicate directly with interested takers, and then leave it out on the front porch for pick-up. If you need an item, simply post “Wanted” and a description of your desired item.

While clearing out my parents’ home as they downsized to a smaller house, I found a butterfly taxidermy display.
I posted it on and a science teacher claimed it; I was happy that the butterfly display (labelled with scientific names) was going to hang in a biology classroom instead of be hidden away in my parents’ closet.

Freecyclers can give away and request almost anything, like games, books, furniture, appliances, Safeway stamps, etc. I often see one Freecycler who just moved “Offer” boxes and bubble wrap and another Freecycler about to move “Want” boxes and bubble wrap. Offers of objects like a Walkman and VHS tapes of 80’s movies make me feel nostalgic.

Some offered items are quite popular and snapped up quickly. When I didn’t snag the “Offer” of Seinfeld DVDs or SNL’s 25th Anniversary DVD, I actually felt sad – over losing out on these free items! 

My latest “Offer” – a heart-shaped bowl – almost become "bowel" because of a typo. I wonder who would have wanted a heart-shaped bowel?