Music and its influence on my life

Music was a staple in our house.  My dad constantly exposed me to different music growing up, which is why I love so many genres of music.

We listened to, in no particular order, country, classical, disco, R&B, Motown, ABBA (it really is a genre on its own), Pop, Indian music (both Hindi and Bengali)- you named it, it was playing in some form.

One of my fondest memories was dancing in our sun porch with my dad when I was 4 to a disco track.  We both had so much fun!

We enjoyed music either on the 8 track player, which used to make the most hideous sound when the album was done, and jolted my baby brother every time, the cassette radio or on our stereo record player, which looked like it was out of 2001 Space Odyssey.

The revered choice for experiencing music was on the record player.  The record player itself was housed in a dome with a clear casing.  The speakers were 2 smaller domes, adjacent on these wings to the unit.  It was all housed in this funky 1970’s media unit, which had space for the records on the bottom.  I loved those records.  I really did.  Those records were amazing.  They were my gateway into my influences.  Some of my happiest moments were in our living room with the record player playing.  The music transported me, uplifted me and fulfilled me.  It was magical.

I understand why vinyl is making a comeback.  There was something amazing about experiencing music on a record.  I devoured my father’s collection of records, which was eclectic and melodic.  When I was younger, it was all about the melody for me.  As I have grown older, the words and the meaning have grown more important, but for me, the music – the tune is what draws me  in.

My favourite records, in order of love:

Harry Belafonte Live At Carnegie Hall – If you want a tutorial on how to be a performer and a story teller, this is the album for you.  It was full of international music from Hava Nageela to Come Back Liza – each song was selected and sung to its fullest.  If ever there was a concert that I could have attended, this would have been it.  His joy of performing and the crowds’ reactions are infectious.

The Beatles 1962-1966 – I really think that my love of green apples stems in part from the amount of times that I watch this double album spin with the green apple at the core.  I was captivated by all of musical influences on this album.  The song writing and music were enchanting.  The harmonies were hypnotic.   I had all of the songs memorized and used to imagine that I was a dancer interpreting these gorgeous songs.  Singer I may be, dancer I am not!

World Star Festival 1969 Compilation LP – I really think that my love of compilation anthologies stemmed from this album.  It was a mix of Jazz, Blues and Pop.  It had Frank Sinatra, Dionne Warwick, Ray Charles, Glen Campbell, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Mel Carter, Julie Andrews, Vikki Car, Andy Williams, Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones, Barbara Streissand, Dusty Springfield, Simon and Garfunkel, Dina Ross and the Supremes……it had everything.  I listened to that Album non stop and knew all of the performances, the nuances of their voices.  Dusty Springfield singing, “I think it’s going to rain today” haunted me and I wished that I could sing as magnificently as she did.

Walt Disney’s Happiest Songs (1967) – The title says it all.  It had songs from all of the Disney Movies I loved, but my absolute favourite was The Bare Necessities from The Jungle Book.  What an amazingly upbeat and incredible song. It is still one of my favourites.

This is what developed my musical loves and tendencies from a young age.  I added to the musical collection as I grew older. but the above albums – they were my core.  And they shaped my musical taste and my eclectic love of good music.

As I grew older, my brother introduced me to British Rock and Alternative.  When I went away to university, he made me this brilliant tape with Oasis, Massive Attack, The Stone Roses – and again, my musical tastes were augmented.  I remember listening to it on the train ride to school and although I was sad about leaving home, the mixed tape captured my attention and gave me a new focus.  Music does that – it transports and imprints itself on you for an eternity.  For me –  music is as important as food and breathing.

But that’s just one Diva’s view.

The best part of my day

I had to be away from home for a couple of days for work.  I have to admit that outside of working, I did not do too much else with my time.   No dinners out, or catching up on television- just work.

So I was ready to come home.

But by the time I got home, my kids had already gone to bed, and did not really register my good night kiss.  However, in the morning……the morning is when my heart nearly burst with joy.  All of the kids were sleeping, but it was time to wake up for school.

So I cuddled with each of my kids, gradually waking them up.  As I kissed them and hugged them, while they were still in their sleep mode, you could see a smile of joy on each of their faces when they realized mama was back and was cuddling with them.

There was genuine happiness, peace and comfort on their faces.  Those 3 moments, which I experienced with each of them, made everything worthwhile.  Because their joy and my joy were genuine.  Our collective happiness was real.

And trust me, these are the moments that sustain us.   Because being a parent is challenging!  Trying to help your kids blossom into amazing human beings and guide them to being their best selves is a 24 hour job, even when you are away.  And like any job, there are good days and bad days.  There are days where I wonder if I am doing what I need to do and giving them what they need.  And there are days when I am frustrated and they are frustrated and it just seems like everything is going wrong.

But like anything that requires your heart and soul, you have these moments, like I had this morning, which remind you that this is all worth it.  That their unconditional love and joy is precious and needs to be treasured.

I will always hold in my heart and memory, the look on their faces from this morning.  It truly was the best part of my day.  It nourished and filled me up.  It will definitely be pulled out during the next…..you know……whatever next challenge is in store.

But that’s just one Diva’s view.

What’s in a name?

My parents had many fights, but one of their first with regard to me, was over my name.  My mom wanted a Western name.  This was based on a childhood decision she had made. My father wanted a unique South Asian name, with a specific meaning.  In the end, although legally my father won the fight, my mom and her side of the family called me by the Western name she liked and my dad and his side of the family called me by my South Asian name.

I was alright with both.  It allowed me to know what identity to adopt when with which side of the family, but that’s for another blog.

With my West Indian family, there was a rationale behind the Western name.  All of my West Indian aunts and uncles were given traditional South Asian names.  They were all second generation South Asian, and came from a very traditional family, that upheld all of the customs from their native India.  However, when my mom was growing up, Trinidad was a British Colony.  She went to a British school and apparently, the British teachers had a hard time with the South Asian names and encouraged the kids to take on Western names.  And many of my aunts and uncles did that.   Education and learning were important and therefore, the kids wanted to please their teachers.

The family story is that my grandfather went to the school to get one of the kids and when he asked for his child, with their South Asian name, he was told that they did not have a child with that name at the school.  After going through 4 of the children (my mom came from a family of 10), he finally got to my Aunt, who retained her name, notwithstanding the encouragement to change her name from her teachers.  It was at this point that my grandfather learned of his kids’ new Western names.

As you can imagine, he was not happy about this change, but adopted the philosophy that the kids could have their Western names at school but at home, they would go by their South Asian names.  He died shortly after that, and eventually, most of the kids came to be known by their Western names.  And so when it was time to immigrate, they moved to Canada with their Western names.  For my mom, it meant fitting in and not constantly being picked on or dealing with the incorrect mispronunciation of her name at school everyday.  And I think that this was the legacy she wanted to avoid for me.  I actually really like the name my mom chose for me – it is pretty and fun and when said with the West Indian cadence, had a sweetness to it.

But dad had other ideas.

For him, his children had to have strong and meaningful South Asian names, reflective of his Bengali roots.  My dad was actually very good at choosing names and was asked by friends to assist in the naming of their children.  And to his credit, I really love the name he chose for me.  Its meaning is good goddess and it was a name I tried to live up to and make proud.

But the name was destroyed by others from the time I started daycare.  For some reason, my South Asian name posed the same trouble that my mom had encountered; they could not pronounce it.  And so, a Western pronounciation of my name came about and that became the accepted version amongst my friends and teachers.  I was not a fan, but I made it work.  However, whenever anyone tried to shorten it, I quickly corrected them and said no………

Until I got to Law School.  Law School for me was a totally new experience.  I was going away to school and the university was known for being predominantly white and posher than my undergraduate university, where I had stayed in the City to attend.  And so, being eager to fit in, I allowed the shortened version of my name – Su.  New persona for my new environment.

I hated it, but for some reason, when it got started, I did not stop it and I allowed it to perpetuate.  It was awful.  But at the same time, as a result of this initial attempt to fit into this new environment, this was also a time when I started re-connecting with my culture.  Always a push – pull.  My close friends at Law School were South Asian (we were few in numbers), and we would watch South Asian movies, attend South Asian restaurants, go to South Asian cultural shows…..the first time I had done any of this without my family.  And I think that this reinforced to me that I was not Su, and never would be.  And so I am glad that I went through this experience because when I articled and practiced law, I was clear in ensuring that people knew my full name and although not always properly pronounced, I was not going to make it easier because this was who I was……….

Except when I am with my West Indian family, and then I am always known by my “Western name”…..and also when I am Starbucks because even with my West Indian name, they mess it up!

And so when it came time to choose names for our kids, my husband and I were on the same page.  We wanted strong South Asian names, but with the possibility of a shortened version that still retained its South Asian identity.  I am happy to say we were successful on this with all 3.  And my kids still come home groaning about the fact that an adult or teacher mispronounced their name (ironically usually not kids), but they understand the beauty of their names, in all of their forms and have been taught to be polite but firm in stating, “This is how to say my name!”

A name is an important part of who we are.  It is part of  our identity and often has a legacy ; either cultural, or passed down through the family, or symbolic etc…  So, take the time, when you come across a new name, to learn how to say it properly and honour the name and what it means for the person.  The name is owed respect; the person is owed respect.

But that’s just one Diva’s view!

 

 

 

 

Ice Blue

I have always loved ice blue.  To me, it is the perfect colour.   I even love saying it – ice blue.  It has an elegance and a cool crispness, that resonates with me.

When I was a little girl, my dad used to take me every morning to the park, as a start to our day, after dropping my mom off at College.  I remember walking the shores of Marie Curtis Park in Mississauga and collecting broken glass, that had been smoothed by the waves and the water.  My greatest find was a piece of ice blue glass.  It was eye catching and rare and for me, it was a true treasure.

As a young girl, I had heard about how amazing diamonds were and I thought that there could be nothing grander than my ice blue “jewels” found on the beach.  When I saw an actual diamond for the first time, I was deeply disappointed by its lack of blue!  Plenty of ice – but no blue!

My mother was an amazing seamstress and she loved sewing clothes for her mother in Trinidad.  My mom would make my grandma these beautiful 2 piece shirt and skirt outfits and would go to Fabricland, the local sewing and fabric store to find pretty material for my grandma.  One year, she found a beautiful ice blue silky material and I remember collecting all of the scraps to use to make clothes for my dolls.  Again, the fabric was silky to touch and the colour was stunning.  I spent hours designing clothes with those scraps.  Even as I got older, I kept those scraps.  When my grandmother died, it felt like a connection to her and a tribute to the beautiful sewing my mom used to do.

And so when I was planning on my wedding outfit for my reception, there was no other colour that I wanted – ice blue.  My husband and I went to India to do our wedding shopping and I had saved a piece of the fabric to take with me to show the stores the exact colour I wanted for my debut as a wife.  I think that my brother and husband grew sick of hearing me reference “ice blue”.  But to me, it was the perfect colour, it fit my vision for the wedding and it had a family association.

And so when we landed in India and started doing our wedding shopping, I took out my treasured piece of fabric only to be told that the colour was “too sober”.  This was a phrase that I would hear a lot.  In India, at the time, wedding colours had to be vibrant and my ice blue was too muted for a proper reception outfit.  I went to a few stores, only to hear the same thing repeated, and after a while, I carefully put away my fabric.  We eventually decided on a beautiful turquoise blue outfit, that was gorgeous, and I loved……but it was not my ice blue.

And now, older and wiser, my love for ice blue has not diminished, but remains steadfast.  Whenever I see it, it instantly fills me with happiness.  One Christmas, my mom got me a necklace and earring set with ice blue stones, and my inner child jumped up and down.  It is still one of my cherished possessions and whenever I wear the set, it makes me happy.

I hope that one day, when my kids get married, that I can find the perfect shade of ice blue for my outfit, to celebrate their next chapter.  That would be a full circle moment for me.

But that’s just one Diva’s view.

My perfect day

In a recent edition of Oprah’s magazine, she discussed what happiness means and then asked her readers to describe their perfect day.

For me – it was a no-brainer.  I live out my perfect day every year on my birthday and I am very selfish about protecting it.  Given the nature of work and  the scheduling that takes place 1-2 years in advance, I have a recurring “DO NOT BOOK” for my birthday.

I do not use the day to commit to errands.  I do not set aside the day to get to that task that has been waiting for my attention.   I am very protective of this day.   I schedule the day around doing things that make me happy.   And for me – what makes me happy are very simple things.   Good food, being outdoors and family!

In the evening, I set it aside for time with my family.  Now that the kids are older, we go out for dinner, but when they were younger, we would get dinner from my favourite restaurant and have a family dinner at home.  No cooking allowed on my birthday!  Always followed by a cake, preferably a mocha cake, but this past year for my birthday, friends brought over a pastry-esque cake (almost like a Vachon Flakie) and it was divine.   I love opening amazing cards from my husband and kids and that is the perfect evening for me – the people that I love, with amazing food – bliss.

The day – it is all mine.  I realized years ago, that I like having adventures and go exploring; I always try to incorporate that into my day.  Sometimes there is some spa time built in, which can be nice, but typically, it is about the adventure of the day!

Before my mom got ill, I would usually spend the day with her.  She and I would go to Niagara on the Lake, or go to a park, or spend the day in downtown Toronto, exploring new neighbourhoods – it was always fun.  My belief, and it still is, is that my birthday is as much as about my mom as it is about me.  My mom was the one who gave me life and I always use the day to say thank you to her.  Even now that she is unwell, I still ensure that my birthday includes a visit to see her and just physically being able to see her, and hug her, adds to the perfection of my day.

Now for my adventures……this year was interesting because the weather was not co-operative.  It was rainy, then the sun made a brief appearance and then the wind started – a pretty severe wind storm.  But that did not dampen my spirits.  I started off the day by grabbing breakfast, picking up a magazine and making my way to an art gallery and cultural centre that I have never attended.  The misty day made the outside feel full of secrets and surprises.  The surprises appeared in the form of a stream, and a beautiful garden full of tulips surrounding the gallery.  I then ventured inside to the art gallery and enjoyed the local artists and the quiet.

After that, being footloose and fancy free, I decided to venture to this small town close by, full of quaint stores, which I could explore.  I then treated myself to High Tea, followed by a drive through a posh area, dreaming of life in a mansion.  From there, I ventured to a local park, where I walked along the river and then just sat and was at peace.  Water always does that for me – it gives me peace.  It calms me and gets me attune to just me and the beauty of the water.   I have no words.

I then went and visited my mom, who even though she could not remember it was my birthday, was happy to see me, and that was good enough for me.

And that is one of my perfect birthday days.  The beauty of birthday days is that for me, it is the 1 day that I can be selfish with my time and no one can judge, say anything or assign tasks.  Birthday day is a free pass, where no one expects you to work, and are glad and supportive of you having fun and celebrating you! I dress in my favourite clothes, listen to my favourite music and enjoy the freedom of doing fun things, especially outside.  And I look forward to it every year.

I think that knowing what makes your happy and ensuring that you have access to it, is very important and needs to be encouraged and supported.  Life is busy and we become programmed to executing our best everyday.  But sometimes, we need to get off the treadmill of life and find our bliss.  We need it to recharge our souls.

So whatever your happiness may be, please ensure that you find time to incorporate it into your life!

But that’s just one Diva’s view!

My love of……pens

There is something about having a great pen that makes writing better!  I love to write and am required to do so with my work….a lot.  So when I find a great pen, I horde it, am careful with it and am actually a little sad if it runs out of ink and I cannot replace it.  Because through our span together, it has been my accomplice to everything recorded in my world and like a good friend, it never betrays my confidence.

My dad loved pens also.  He had his special pens, in a denim pencil case, with a pocket, which we were not allowed to use.  He always put his pen or pens back when he was finished with it, so that he knew where it was.

That legacy was passed to me and when I went away to university, my biggest pet peeve was when someone borrowed a pen from me during class (yes – I predate when everyone brought a laptop to class) and then did not return it to me.  It would cause me to stew about whether I should approach them for the pen or just accept its loss.  So, I deliberately started bringing pens with me, that I did not mind if they were lost, because they were not part of my favorite pen collection.

And receiving really great pens has added to my memory bank.  My best girl friend, moved to England when her father was transferred and she got me my first ink cartridge pen.  It was a fountain pen (red with black borders) and I loved writing with it.  It just made whatever I wrote look better and sound better (cannot explain it).  She would send me the refills throughout her time there, and that special blueness of the ink is not one that can be replicated. When I find something that I had written back then with that pen, its distinctiveness is immediate!  I never got another fountain pen because I do not think that anything could match that pen experience.

When I graduated from high school, my best guy friend, bought me a pen and pencil set and had his nickname for me, Foxy Roxy, engraved on them.  It was a silver Cross set and the present, was so thoughtful and appropriate for me.   I used that set throughout university and trust me, I never lent anyone this pen or pencil set.  It was the perfect present.

But my favourite pen of all time is one that my dad got me when I was a kid.  We used to attend every year at the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) and we always attended at the International Pavilion where they had booths from countries around the world.  We always got a special treat from the CNE and that year, I got a few treats, but this pen was the best.  It was from India and it was made of Sandalwood.  The pen wrote smoothly, but then when you held the pen, the scent of Sandalwood permeated the air.  The wood carving on the pen was exquisite and it was perhaps too nice a pen for a 9 year old, but my dad understood my love of pens.  It was the most unique pen and my love of the scent of Sandalwood was born as a result.  I kept this pen for years, and the scent of the sandalwood faded, but never disappeared.  Unfortunately, I lost this pen while moving and could never find another pen like it.  But that’s ok; the memory of having this pen is what is important.

And today, I still loving using great pens.  It just makes my world a better place.  And for me, the pen is still mightier than a sword….. a lesson that resonates especially in the crazy chaos of the current day.

But that’s just one Diva’s view!

 

The love of laughter and playfulness!

I have always been someone who loves to laugh.  Not polite giggles, but full out belly laughs, rolling on the ground with laughter, kind of a girl.  When I was a little girl, I was the mischievous little miss who liked to be silly and loved to tickle others, be chased and was laughing the entire time.  Most of my childhood photos show me with a mischievous grin!  I definitely get this aspect from my mom, who taught me how to be silly and have carefree fun!

When I was in residence for university, the common refrain was that even with my door closed, if I was watching a sitcom or funny movie, you could hear my laughter down the hall.

When I started working full time, I loved pranking people, sending e-mails and calling using an alias.  It used to really add fun to work and make it less dry!

While I was pregnant, I made a point of watching really funny things because I wanted the kids in uterto to experience my joy and mirth.  I really do believe that joy and laughter is transferable!

But then everything collided together.  The workplace started enforcing some very strict measures, which made me feel that the pranks were no longer appropriate, especially as I became more senior.  I had kids and there was less and less time for me.  Although I love being silly with the kids, I am often the strict parent, which requires me to be the disciplinarian, the one who ensures the schedule is followed and keeps everything on track.

But lately, I have not been laughing as much.  I still kid around and have fun with my kids, but full out belly laughs are rare and I have to admit that I miss them.  I miss how I feel when I am full of mirth and laughter.  I miss being silly.  Do other people feel like that?

I recently watched a show where they showed in India, there are laughing clubs where people come together in the morning, before work, simply to laugh.  And at first, the laughter appears to be forced but then its contagiousness and joy spreads and the laughter becomes free and natural.  The dynamics of this type of club appeal to me.  Imagine just spending time on laughter!  The belief is that laughter is the best medicine and those people that are happy and full of joy, live healthier and of course, happier lives.

I now understand why adults go and see more comedies and watch more comedy specials.  Because unfortunately, for some of us, not in control of our work environment, and being so busy with life, the laughter and the ensuing silliness becomes rare.

And I have to admit, that without the laughter, I have started to notice that I am just not as happy.  And so more than meditating and finding my zen, I am trying to find ways to bring back the belly laughs into my life.  I am hopeful that by being conscious of seeking it out, it will become infused back into my life.   Now if only I could find a television show that causes me to laugh like Cheers and Everybody Loves Raymond did…..I would be set.

But that’s just one Diva’s view.

 

 

 

 

 

The importance of fashion

Growing up, I loved watching my mom getting dressed.  She paid attention to details when she was dressing.  Her jewelry and clothes coordinated, her make-up was on point and her hair was always glamorous, in beautiful updos.  Her favourite thing to do was to go to the local Flea Market and find unique jewelry, that were always statement pieces.  She loved flipping through magazines for ideas and all of this translated into her designing and sewing beautiful clothes.  When I went on a school trip, my mom sewed my entire wardrobe.  I did not appreciate how talented she was at the time.  However, after taking a sewing course, I realized that my mom had a gift and unfortunately, due to her Parkinson’s, a creative gift, that was taken away from her.

What does Fashion mean to me now?  It is a creative outlet for me to express different looks and moods.  Working in a professional environment, I never wanted to sacrifice style for utility.  For me, looking my best, translates into me being my best.

I always liked to look unique.  Growing up in the suburbs, it was easy to all have the same uniform of style – Ralph Lauren, the Gap, Laura Ashley.  But we could not afford those clothes and ultimately, that aesthetic was not my look.  I was very skinny, and often, those clothes were not made for my size.  And even as a pre-teen, I liked incorporating areas of South Asian accents into my look.  I used a sari border as a hair band and I loved the look.

Now my aesthetic has evolved, but the influences are still there.  My mom’s attention to jewelry has remained an important part of my look.  I love incorporating elements of South Asian fashion into my look and wish there were more South Asian fusion pieces using old saris for pants, dresses or suit jackets.  If my mom still could sew, I would have had a partner to work with, although saris are very difficult to sew with given the delicate nature of the material.   I digress..

I very much love the traditional look of Chanel and incorporate that into my style.  My OAC French project was on Coco Chanel and the Chanel influence has always remained.  But then sometimes, I like looking a little more urban and that translates to my hair, my clothes – my purse and even the music I am wearing when getting dressed.

And I have to say – I love putting together a look.  I still need help with shoes, but other than that, I like creating new looks and feeling my best.  I adore getting compliments on my outfits and I love seeing my kids admire my style and hope that I will be a positive style influence to them.

As Maya Angelou so eloquently put it,

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

I agree wholeheartedly.  Style gives me a joie de vivre and I always say, take your happiness where you find it!

But that’s just one Diva’s view.

 

 

Environment; what it means to me

When I was growing up, my parents strictly cautioned me about the friends I had in my life.  These friends would contribute to my environment of growing up and my parents wanted to ensure that these influences were mainly positive and uplifting.  At the time, I thought my parents were being overly cautious but as I have become older, I realize the importance of one’s environment and how it impacts and affects us in every aspect.  And not surprisingly, those friends from childhood remain my close friends and our kids are now friends, which is pretty amazing!

Environment, for me, is what I surround myself with.  The space, the friends, the influences – for me, all of these elements converge to create my environment.  When my environment is positive and uplifting, that is reflected in how I carry myself.  When it is a negative space, the impact is detrimental to the infinite degree.

I was lucky growing up that I had friends who created a positive environment.  They were all good people at their core.  We all supported each other and were there for one another.  My home life, on the other hand, was a mix of environments.  At times, it was very nurturing and encouraging.  But at other times, it was very stifling and punishing.  And so the lesson I learned from being in that environment was that if the environment did not work for you, you had the power to remove yourself from it.  And so when I was old enough to leave for university, I left!  I returned, for short stretches.

Ultimately, through trial and error, I learned what I needed from my environment to flourish and to be my best self and sought to create or find that environment.

Does that mean that on a whim, I abandon my environment?  No.  But it does mean that I am not afraid to remove myself from a toxic environment, on the basis of self preservation.  It does mean that although I have committed to an environment, as long as the environment does not mire me down, does not reduce me to question my worth, I’m in.

And to be honest, like most people, I do better in a healthy environment.  An environment that understands and acknowledges what I bring to the table.  An environment that nurtures my growth and development.

But your environment is also molded by you and the decisions you make; the people you allow influence into your environment.  And therefore, that’s why my parents made me mindful to this fact, because that allowed me to understand the control that I had to exert to be in the best environment.

And as I get older, I realize the importance of one’s environment and its impact on all aspects of your health –  mental health, physical health, emotional health.

And so, although loyalty and perseverance are to be lauded, for me, being in the right environment, is what causes me to flourish.

So – make sure to do a check of your environment on a routine basis.   And if it needs a tune-up, don’t be afraid to adjust it or to change it.  Always evaluate!  As Michelle Obama eloquently stated, “Choose people who lift you up.  Find people who will make you better.”  This is the environment you want!

But that’s just one Diva’s view!

 

 

 

My love of reading

Reading has always been my magical place; my zen, my escape, my fulfillment.  I fell in love with books at a very early age.  I attribute that to my parents.  My dad loved and revered books. He had a collection of books that we kept in a bookcase which we were allowed to read, and look at, but only if we treated the books with the proper respect that they deserved.  No sticky or dirty hands….carefully turning the pages.  And in our culture, stepping on books is extremely taboo.   That was drilled into us from a young age.

My mom had a collection of books and magazines that she always kept by the bed and she always found comfort and peace in reading.  Her horoscope, the Farmer’s Almanac and books about faith and spirituality were her go to’s and were well worn from use.

And so, it was no surprise that I grew up loving to read.  In addition to loving books, my parents were very strict.  I was not allowed to go out socially like my peers and for me, reading gave me the socialization that I was missing in real life.  I experienced what first love was like, betrayal, close bonds, the consequences of making bad decisions….the list goes on.  And loved it all.  Horror, romance, sci fi, murder mysteries….you name it, I read it.  But I loved romance the best.  The commencement of a relationship, the building of the bond, the question of whether there was a true connection, the doubt and then the affirmation that this was true love gave me joy!  When I was younger, I would stay up until 2-3am binge reading.  When I would take the subway to work, I could usually read 1 1/2 Harlequins a day.

We did not have a lot of money growing up.  But we did have a library close by and that is where we would go every week-end.  During the school year, when I was in high school, I would go during my lunch break.  I always had to have a book.  I may have been a picky eater, but I was not a picky reader!  And for me, I always needed a book by my side to sustain me.

Now that I am older and with a lot more on my plate, my love of reading has not diminished – but my time for reading has.  That’s life.  But my husband and I have passed on our love of reading to our kids.  The library has become a place of joy for my kids.  And we ensure that the house is full of books.  And just like my parents, my bed side is never without a book.  And when I find a book I love, I share it with my friends and the book often becomes their birthday present.

It is nice to have this tradition of reading passed on and I hope that my kids pass on this love of books ….and the library to their kids!  In light of this, please make sure that your local library gets the support and respect that it is due.  I would not be who I am without our public library.

But that’s just one Diva’s point of view.