Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -- Mark Twain
aphrodisiacs and Moonstruck
Tonight TSO, JBean, S and I went to the Mahaiwe Theater in Great Barrington for a lecture on aphrodisiacs, given by food historian, Francine Segan, which was followed by a showing of the movie Moonstruck starring Cher and Nicolas Cage.
Ten interesting things which I learned about aphrodisiacs are:
In ancient times it was thought that foods which resembled a body part would help stimulate that part of the body; i.e. bananas, asparagus and cucumbers were considered aphrodisiacs.
Strawberries and Raspberries were referred to as "nipple fruits."
Certain "hot" spices were considered to stimulate the body in the same way in which they stimulated the mouth, so spices like pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon and later things like chili pepper were considered aphrodisiacs.
The scent which most women react to the strongest is vanilla.
In ancient Egypt the slaves working on things like the pyramids were given rations of garlic because it was considered a stimulant that lengthened life.
Some major aphrodisiacs were: fruits (raspberries, strawberries, fig), but also nuts, honey and wine.
Since carrots were considered a sign of a penis (which is a sign of life), King Henry VIII allegedly planted carrots in his garden to ensure an heir.
Some cultures consider things like Rhino horns and antlers aphrodisiacs.
Since things like frog and turtle eggs are thought to resemble sperm, they are considered aphrodisiacs in some cultures.
Cassanova is given credit for furthering chocolate's reputation as an aphrodisiac; Cassanova spoke of its use as a food great in foreplay, and also spoke of its divine powers.
After the lecture, and before the movie showing, we were herded down to the basement of the gorgeous Mahaiwe to sample Italian desserts--since who knows love better and combines aphrodisiac chocolates and hazelnuts and all kinds of goodies like the Italians?! So good. My favorite dessert was the chocolate covered hazelnuts...mmmm...
Anyway, the movie was great. I'd never seen Moonstruck, probably since I was only 7 when it came out and probably also due to the fact that Nicolas Cage is in it, and I can't stand Nicolas Cage. But HOLY CATS!! If there were ever a part better suited to Nicolas Cage I don't know what it would be! The movie was great; a fun glance into Cher's ridiculous Catholic Italian American family and a NYC of the 80s! Cher was great, Olympia Dukakiss was great, Nicolas Cage was great, the dialogue was great and even the annoying guy behind us who needed to talk sporadically throughout the movie (*PET PEEVE*) didn't ruin the movie for me.
Being a questioner of love, especially the mushy, fluffy Hollywood-ified version of love as a seamless and perfect thing, I thought that the best part of the movie was when Ronny says to Loretta:
"Loretta, I love you. Not like they told you love is, and I didn't know this either, but love don't make things nice - it ruins everything. It breaks your heart. It makes things a mess. We aren't here to make things perfect. The snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect. Not us. Not us! We are here to ruin ourselves and to break our hearts and love the wrong people and *die*. The storybooks are *bullshit*. Now I want you to come upstairs with me and *get* in my bed!"
The night was great. We extricated ourselves from NYC of the 1980s; walked away from the Mahaiwe, who's lights shined on the street below; hurried through the snowy, cold night to my car, and in no time found ourselves back at the Farm.
I first discovered Helen Ward when I bought a copy of her The Tin Forest--the story of a man who in his solitude creates for himself a tin forest; once he builds a replica of the real things he desires, it is only a matter of time before real plants and animals begin to appear in the tin forest--at a used book sale at one of my old libraries when I was in grad school. What makes Ward stand out is that she always paints an intimate story, including details that pull you into the world of the story. I just love her!
We recently got a copy of Helen Ward's The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse; not a
new story, but merely a retelling and re-illustrating of a Aesop's classic. I LOVE
Helen Ward's artwork, which is a feast for the senses, so full of color,
lavish artwork that leaves you feeling as contented as that adorable
The hardest part of being the Director in a small library is that we don't have an HR person, so on top of everything else we do we also get to do the paperwork for the new hires, and retires. Thank God for the internet or these processes would take a lot longer!
One of my board members pointed out that though I'd been informed of staff retirements, I had to officially accept them with a letter...I am finding that a paper trail is an important thing. So, I found a short and simple letter on one university's HR website (sorry forgot which!?) and honed it to work for us. Attached is my sample of a retirement letter.
Is anyone else out there going through this process too?