Cerebration: July 1, 2021

Summertime and the living is easy…

…especially compared to last summer! Life is getting back to normal. I’ve dined out a few times inside a restaurant and it was wonderful. I have standing appointments again for my nails and my hair. No more masks outside and inside, it’s often optional. If only I could lose the quarantine weight…I’m working on it but it ain’t easy.

Things are changing at work, too. Masks are no longer required and the campus will be opening up to visitors shortly. I’m an academic librarian at Lynn University. Summer is super slow, there are no students living on campus because Pine Tree Camp takes over the campus every summer. I actually worked for Pine Tree 25 years ago. It was my first job after staying home with my kids for twelve years. They got to go to camp for half price, and I got paid. I was the preschool computer instructor for two summers. The first year was great. It was an easy way for me to go back to work, having my kids nearby, and they had a blast. After that first summer, my baby started kindergarten and I got a part time job at Borders Books. I worked while my kids were in school. But the next summer, I had already committed to Pine Tree so I worked there full time, and at Borders part time. It just about killed me.

Closing time at Borders

Along with taking care of my family, there just weren’t enough hours in the day. And my manager at Borders kept asking me to move to full time, and at the end of that summer, I did. They were open enough hours that I could still work around my kids’ schedules. I would drop them off at school, go to work, leave in the early afternoon to pick up my kids, do homework, dinner, baths, put them to bed and go back to work. I worked these crazy split shifts for a long time but it worked for me and my family and the store.

All I can tell you is that working one full time job is way easier than working two jobs, as so many people already know. Sometimes people don’t have a choice, they need the money so they do what they have to do. My husband worked two jobs for years so I could stay home with the kids, then for the extra money for things like vacations and extracurricular activities for the kids, so I get it.

It was while I was working at Borders that I created a website as a way to keep track of the books I’d read and the books I wanted to read. This was 20+ years ago, when the web was just a baby. We’ve come a long way since then! Amazon was just a startup and in fact, Borders contracted with them to handle the Borders website. Yep, Borders paid Amazon to sell books online for them. This was not the brightest idea, and was probably the beginning of the end for Borders. The partnership only lasted a year but by then Amazon was on its way to becoming the behemoth it is, and Borders never really caught up with its online presence.

My website has gone through several changes. When I started, I had a free website hosted by Geocities. The Internet Archive has several screenshots of my website over the years. It is fun for me to look back, and if you’re at all curious, take a look!

Earliest screenshot from Feb, 2001: https://web.archive.org/web/20010220175319/http://www.bookbitch.com/https://web.archive.org/web/20010220175319/http://www.bookbitch.com/

BookBitch archives: https://web.archive.org/web/20210101000000*/bookbitch.com

When blogs became a thing, I started one up so I had the website and the blog. I wanted to combine them so I only had to update one thing. I also wanted to change my homepage to stacyalesi.com instead of bookbitch.com. I bought the domain name in 2011So several years ago, I changed the name of the website from BookBitch.com to Stacy Alesi’s BookBitch.com. You can still go to http://www.bookbitch.com, it redirects to the current blog. And I had a really talented web designer, xuni, give me a whole new look. They specialize in author websites, but did me a favor and I loved the results.

We took our first plane trip in almost two years to New York to see my grandson. I’m going back again soon with my daughter, but then probably won’t get to see my little angel again until September. Babies change so much that first year. I am thrilled that my son and daughter-in-law send us pictures every day, it helps ease the pain of separation. Now I understand how my mom felt when Daniel was born, we were living in Texas and she was in Florida. We moved back to Florida when he was 13 months old, but that first year was tough.

Nana with Daniel & my niece, Blaire

Everyone keeps asking what we are going to be called. Grandma and Grandpa? We started there and I was feeling like whatever he wanted to call us when he started talking would be fine with us. Then on our last trip to NY, we took the baby on his first road trip to see my brother and his family. Their grandchildren call them Nana and Papa, which is what all our kids called my mom and stepfather. When my son heard that, I saw something in his face, I can’t really explain it. But when we got home, I told him we wanted to be called Nana & Papa. It feels right. I know we have big, enormous shoes to fill, and we will try our hardest to be the kind of grandparents my son associates with those names.

It is so amazing that we can make plans again. Meet up with friends. Fly. Travel safely. Sadly, the crime rate is up, too, which sucks. But all in all, it feels like we have come through the pandemic to the other side. I know there are people still getting sick, and more deaths. But there is a vaccine available. It’s free. It’s easy to get. Yes, a small percentage of people get Covid after being vaccinated, but they are generally symptom free or have very mild symptoms. They are not dying, and that is a huge change. If you haven’t gotten vaccinated, and don’t want to, I wish you luck. But I can’t help thinking of Darwin.

As always, thanks for reading and stay safe!

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