Archive for June, 2011

June 27, 2011

Our Library

Just about two years ago we joined the Greenwich Public Library. As you might imagine, it is quite a spectacular library. I always feel a little badly that we don’t support our local library in Port Chester, but in terms of resources, there is no comparison.

Greenwich’s library is housed in a pretty spectacular building. Part of it is the old library, but they have added on a very large addition with exhibit space and meeting rooms and lots of computer terminals.

They have great collections across media, but I think we may have gotten the most value from their music collection. My son, Peter, takes large stacks of cd’s out nearly every week. He is a huge music fan and listens across all genres. His tastes couldn’t be much more eclectic and having access to the collection let’s him sample everything under the sun. I absolutely shudder to think what he would spend on iTunes or amazon if he didn’t have access to the library. Yes, he is ripping the cds. I admit that I feel a little guilty and ambivalent about it. I know that no one in my family would download files illegally and the artist was compensated for the cd when the library purchased it. I think it is pretty well-recognized what happens with the cds in a library’s music collection.

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June 22, 2011

Prom 2011–Ellie and Jordan

Last week was Prom. This year’s prom was quite a different affair for Ellie than last year. This year, Ellie was an old hand. That feeling of incredible nervousness was replaced by experience. Ellie handled most of the arrangements herself. I’ve already posted about Jordan and how he asked Ellie to prom. We didn’t actually meet Jordan until the afternoon of prom. His entire family came over to our house for a few pictures. Then Jim headed off to class and I headed to the pre-Prom gathering at one of Ellie’s friends’ houses.

It was an extremely hot and humid late afternoon and the boys in their tuxes were dripping with sweat. It threatened to downpour any moment and everyone just hoped that the kids would be in the bus before the skies opened up. Happily, it happened just that way…

Ellie may have been an old hand at Prom, but we did go dress shopping months ago. The kids all get their dresses outrageously early and then post photos of the dresses on Facebook to avoid any embarrassing duplications. Last year Ellie ended up with the first dress she tried on. This year required what seemed like hours of trying on dresses and I have no idea how many she had tried before we had a winner. Of course, the afternoon of Prom she declared she hated the dress and I had made her pick it. 😦  Now, why did I know I would be the heavy…

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June 17, 2011

Pace Orientation and Peter’s Future

Peter headed down to Orientation at Pace University today. Last night he went to see THE GREEN LANTERN with his friend, Matt, at midnight. This morning he got himself up, fed and dressed and I dropped him at the train. He didn’t want or need me to go with him to Orientation. He knew how to get to Pace on his own and he was clear about his scheduled meetings.

For many parents of teenagers, this may seem like a string of amazing accomplishments. For the parent of someone on the spectrum, this is an example of the truly inspiring growth which Peter has achieved in the past year.

I can’t quite believe that Peter will be heading off to college in the fall. This is such an exciting, and heartbreaking, achievement. Heartbreaking in that I will truly miss having him around on a daily basis. He isn’t always the easiest person in the world, especially when communication is called for, but he is a great housemate. Peter has no problem pitching in to clean the kitchen, take out the garbage and generally be useful. He loves to go to the grocery store and does an excellent job of getting the items we need and not purchasing anything not on the list–for someone with impulse issues, this, too, is an accomplishment. Peter is good company and loves to watch NCIS with me when his dad is off at class. He is also ready to give and receive hugs at a moments notice.

Peter is currently taking Calculus 2 at Westchester Community College. He has made a group of friends both at WCC and at the Devereux Foundation where he was taking some evening classes earlier. It is great to see him making plans to do things with his friends. He loves to travel into Manhattan and explore the city and go to clubs. In my life I have never had a desire to go to a club, but Peter is exploring all sorts of activities. I don’t think he dances, he is more the wallflower type, but it is an exotic and foreign experience for him. His friends seem like nice kids and they, too, are all following their own paths to adulthood. Peter may not be your prototypical teenager from an upper middle class suburb, but he has found a social circle that fits his own personality.

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June 2, 2011

Book Expo 2011

Last week was BEA (Book Expo America) which is the big trade show for booksellers, publishers and related fields. It was a fascinating show both for its overview of where the industry is and is heading and for me on a personal level.

Five years ago BEA had grown to monstrous proportions. The show floor was so large that it was almost impossible to walk the show during the three days it was open. There were few cities with convention halls large enough to hold it. We enjoyed a last visit to Los Angeles in 2008 and then it was understood the show would remain in New York. The thinking was that so many exhibitors were based in New York that that would represent a cost savings for them and New York would remain a draw for out of towners needing to attend the show–namely booksellers and rights buyers (foreign publishers). BEA had historically been on Memorial Day weekend so booksellers could attend over a long holiday weekend when their shops would be closed. Clearly, that was no longer relevant either.

In fact the question of relevance has dogged BEA for some time. In an industry facing increasing consolidation among booksellers, was there a benefit to having a booth to see a customer base which comprised less than 20% of sales? Contact with the larger customers took place constantly and didn’t involve a booth and product on display. How important was it to spend a lot of money to talk to the indies (independent booksellers) about upcoming books? Or was the show supposed to be about something else, rights sales for instance? These questions were debated ad nauseaum with no greater resolution, for my former employer at least, than smaller booth space and fewer parties.

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