Friday, April 28, 2006

The Addiction of Book Collecting

The Addiction of Book Collecting
"She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain."
- Louisa May Alcott
I was browsing in Barnes & Noble Bookseller the other day. I already own 450 books and my husband would kill me (not literally) if I purchased another book. I try to justify my purchase by saying "But, it was on sale" - so I stuck strickly with the Bargain Books section. My favorite digs have all closed - Borders Outlets have all shut down leaving me with fewer choices for a quick fix for a cheap book buy.
In 1975,Barnes & Noble took a bold and audacious step by becoming the first bookseller in America to discount books by offering New York Times bestsellers at 40% off publisher's list prices. Barnes & Noble expanded on that idea by opening a 40,000-square-foot Sale Annex directly across from its flagship store.

The company began to expand in the New York/Boston markets by opening smaller discount bookstores. In addition, it acquired two local chains, BookMasters and Marboro Books, which were converted to Barnes & Noble discount stores. Initially, these stores were very successful and expanded to 50 locations. They were eventually phased out in  
                                  favor of the company's larger-format book superstores.So, I'm looking in Barnes & Noble and come across a gold mine of books under $6. My eyes become enlarged and my heart came alive with excitement of bargain books...and by African American authors.

Let me stop and describe to you the feeling a book lover (bibliophile) like myself feels about books and book collecting. We see books as physical objects of beauty and romance, we love the look and feel of our books. Even if some of us do not understand first edition collecting, we have a shelf of treasured books, or even a library full of them. We tend to take care of our books in the same way we care for other valuable objects we own, like paintings or fine china. We see our collections as extensions of our interests, perhaps as a record of our intellectual and artistic experiences. Something about having a book on the shelf gives pleasure; owning books enriches our lives. Since collectors value books as beautiful objects, the books' condition is important. A lovely copy is more appealing than one that has been used and abused. I can read a book from cover to cover without leaving any evidence of having done so. Collectors take care with their books. I use clear vinyl book covers to protect my collection. The underlying reason to collect books lies in the duality of the experience. Not only do collectors take pleasure from the intellectual content of their books, but they also enjoy the process of assembling their collections. Finding a beautiful copy of a treasured first edition is a rewarding experience. Owning one gives continuing delight. Many first edition books appreciate in value over time.

Book collecting does not have to be expensive. You can spend as little or as much as you are able and willing to spend on your collection. Some collectors purchase only new in-print books, others buy only at yard sales and library book sales, others visit their neighborhood used book shop. others order only from mail order catalogs, and many are now buying books on the world wide web, such as Amazon.com. Many collectors purchase their books from a wide variety of sources and limit their purchases to expenditures they can afford.

Why do I collect books? I collect them because they are beautiful, valuable, it's an expanding field that is likely to remain so, and most important of all, I collect them because I love them. Although we are in the minority as regards to the general population, there are still a great many of us. You might not think of yourselves as collectors, but you carry the virus. It's chronic and there is no cure. Book collecting, gives pleasure and adds dimension to our lives.

You can read more on "The Fundamentals of Book Collecting" by visiting www.firsts.com.
Back to my story...So as I make my final selections, because I had to leave some behind, I proceed to the cashier. She asked "Did you find everything okay?" I reply "Yes! and I was so excited when I saw your selection...I love books" I'm practically jumping up and down as I say this - like a child getting a new toy and can't wait to play with it. The cashiers then says "I see you got all bargain book purchases, did you look beyond the bargain book area to the back of the store where our Sales Annex is?" my smile slightly diminishes as she's pointing in the direction I just left. I say "No, what's that?" she explains "That's where we sell used books. You know where customers trade in or donate used books for resale, and some are brand new releases for as little as $12 dollars" I don't hear anything else she's saying...I practically run to the Sales Annex in the middle of the ladies sentence. But, I gather my manners and ask her to do me a favor and hold my bag with the 4 books I just purchased behind the counter while I explore this new gold mine. She obliged with an approving nod of her head and a unhesitating reach for my bag.

I look at every single book on the shelf with a methodical eye. I'm back there so long that when I return to the cashier, she doesn't recognize me as the lady to whom she is babysitting the bag full of books.
That evening, I gently confess my purchases to my husband when he ask me "How was your day? and what did you do?" He believes I need to join BA "Bookaholic Anonymous" if there is such a thing. I'll go to a few meetings, but it probably wouldn't do any good.

Gotta go, my husband just left for work and I'm on my way to a used book sale.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Diabetes Knowledge

Managing Diabetes

I was diagnosed with Gestational diabetes (gestational diabetes is temporary) at the age of 21, when I was pregnant with my first child. Then again three years later with my second child. I developed type 2 diabetes approximately 8-9 years ago. I'm now at the middle age of 43. During pregnancy and until the fall of 2005, I was not managing my diabetes. I suffered high glucose levels averaging in the 300's and higher. My general medicine doctor finally referred me to a specialist or an Endocrinologist. For the first time in my diabetic life I am managing my blood sugars with oral antidiabetic drugs (Metformin) and insulin therapy (Lantus) to maintain normal glucose levels.

I would like to give you words of knowledge and share my steps to achieve this wonderful feeling of being in control. I hope this can help those out there suffering with significantly elevated glucose levels (hyperglycemia).

What is Type 2 Diabetes? When you have type 2 diabetes, your body is unable to properly use the sugar called glucose. Glucose is created when your body breaks down food to use for energy. Your body uses glucose as its main source of fuel with the help of a hormone called insulin. Insulin acts like a key to unlock the body's cells, so glucose can enter and serve as fuel for the cells. This is how most people's bodies maintain a fairly normal amount of sugar in the bloodstream.

That's not the case with type 2 diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes can't maintain normal sugar levels. This happens either because the body doesn't make enough insulin, or because the body can't use its own natural insulin properly - a process called insulin resistance. High blood sugar sets off processes that can lead to complications, like heart, kidney, and eye disease, or other serious problems. The good news is that healthy eating, exercise, and possibly, medications can help.

Visit this site for more information: http://www.diabetes.com/

Who's on Your Health Care Team? No matter what type of diabetes you have, it affects many parts of your life. You can get help from health professionals trained to focus on different areas, from head to toe. A health care team helps you use the health care system to its fullest.

You. You are the most important member of your health care team. Your health care team depends on you to talk to them honestly and to tell them how you feel. You may need to work with your doctor to build a health care team, adding members as the need arises. Self-monitoring via self-adminitered glucose testing using a glucose monitor is an essential element of any diabetes management program.

The PrimaryCare Doctor. A primary care or family practice doctor is who you see for general checkups and when you get sick. A doctor with special training in diseases such as diabetes is called an endocrinologist. Endocrinologist also requires caring for the person as well as the disease. Your primary care doctor may also be the one who refers you to specialists or other team members. Make sure you feel comfortable talking about the details of your health and lifestyle with this doctor. Your doctor's support is important. After the visit, ask yourself:

  • Did the doctor really listen to my concerns?
  • Was the doctor concerned about my diabetes control?
  • Did the doctor answer my questions?

Registered Dietician. A registered dietician (RD) or Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) is trained in nutrician. If your doctor does not work with a dietician, ask him to refer you to one. Your dietician helps you figure out your food needs based on your desired weight, lifestyle, medication, and other health goals (such as lowering blood fat levels or blood pressure). Even if you've had diabetes for many years, a visit to the dietician can help. Dietitians can also help you learn how:

  • the foods you eat affect your blood sugar and blood fat levels
  • to balance food with medications and activity
  • to read food labels
  • to make a sick day meal plan
  • to plan meals
  • to plan for eating out and special events
  • to include ethnic or foreign foods into your meals
  • to find good cookbooks
  • to make food substitutions

Eye Doctor. This doctor is another key member of your health care team, because diabetes can affect the blood vessels in the eyes. The eye doctor will be either an ophthalmologist or an optometrist. You should see your eye doctor at least once a year. These checkups are the best way to detect diabetic eye disease. Your eye doctor will check for any changes in your eyes.

Podiatrist. This health professional is trained to treat feet and problems of the lower legs. Diabetes makes you prone to poor blood flow and nerve damage in the lower legs. You may get infections more often. Sores, even small ones, can quickly turn into serious problems. Any foot sore or callus needs to be checked by your primary care doctor or a podiatrist. Inspect your feet daily for signs of trouble.

Dentist. People with diabetes are at greater risk for gum disease. The excess blood sugar in your mouth makes it a good home for bacteria, which leads to infection. See your dentist every six months. Be sure to tell your dentist that you have diabetes.

Exercise Physiologist or Trainer. Exercise plays a major role in your diabetes care, no matter which type of diabetes you have. Exercise can help lower blood sugar, help your body better use insulin, and help control your weight. It can also improve your blood fat levels, reduce stress, and improve your overall fitness level. The best person to help you and your doctor plan your fitness program is someone trained in the scientific basis of exercise. Always get your doctor's approval for any exercise program.