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A big thank you to all of you who read or listened to “The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown and joined us for one of this year’s outstanding One Read events. Over the past month we have explored the Great Depression and the build up to WWII. We have celebrated Olympic sport and the American spirit. We have investigated the themes and topics in this book through discussions, lectures, films and art. We appreciate the hundreds of you who attended events and promoted this book to your book clubs, your coworkers and your families. Thank you for your support.
We capped off the month with Brown delivering his keynote address at Columbia College’s Launer Auditorium, and he graciously shared his own story as a writer and researcher, as well as that of Joe Rantz and his teammates.
Our sincere thanks to you for being a part of this year’s One Read!
Who doesn’t love a good hot sauce? Tabasco, Frank’s and Cholula are just some of the many different ways to liven up a meal. Beyond adding some heat to your dish, capsaicin, the spicy chemical in peppers, causes the brain to release endorphins, which are strong natural painkillers. I recently checked out The Hot Sauce Cookbook, which contains recipes for spicy foods and hot sauces from all over the world, paired with historical and cultural backgrounds of the dishes. Some of the recipes include the Ethiopian berbere, nuoc mam cham (of Vietnam), a Yucatan salsa called xnipec, and piri-piri, a Portuguese-African sauce. Learning about these condiments was really interesting, and I was excited to find a recipe for one of my favorites, Sriracha.
Sriracha is originally a Thai sauce, which traveled to America and carved a distinct place in our culture. The “rooster sauce” was created by a housewife named Thanom Chakkapak in Thailand in the 1930s. Her friends loved her recipe so much they encouraged her to sell it commercially, and when she did, it became the best selling hot sauce in Thailand. The US incarnation of Sriracha has been around since 1980, when it was popularized by the brand Huy Fong (the one with a green lid and picture of a rooster on the bottle). Recently the company was in the news when they were accused of making the entire town of Irwindale, California cry with their factory’s spicy fumes. As one of America’s most popular condiments, sriracha also holds a place in our popular culture. The sauce is used in many major corporate restaurants, including Subway and White Castle, and there are even Sriracha-flavored potato chips and candy canes. Earlier this summer the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles held an art show exploring the impact of Sriracha and Tapatio, another popular hot sauce, on that part of our country.
Cookbook in hand, I decided to try my hand at making Sriracha. Making it took longer than I’d anticipated (you have to ferment it for 1-2 weeks), but the end result was good, and tasted similar to the store-bought product, with a few differences. I couldn’t find red jalapenos, so I used green ones instead (which made the end product green as well). My Sriracha also turned out slightly chunkier in texture than the popular Huy Fong brand’s sauce, and it seemed to be more spicy (probably because I didn’t take all of the seeds out. Here is the recipe I followed (from The Hot Sauce Cookbook).
The first step is to make a fermented pepper mash out of about 2 pounds of red chiles (I used green jalapenos). For this you will need:
- 2 pounds of peppers (classic Sriracha is made with red jalapenos, but they’re hard to find. Using green ones will still give you a similar taste.)
- 1/4 cup of salt
Next cut the peppers in half lengthwise. Wearing gloves will prevent your hands from getting spicy.
Put the peppers in a stainless steel bowl, sprinkle them with 1/4 cup of salt, and mash them up with a potato masher until they are soft and bruised, yet still intact. Let them sit uncovered in the bowl overnight. The next morning there should be a layer of liquid at the bottom of the bowl.
Transfer the peppers and liquid to a mason jar, and fill the jar with water. Loosely seal the jar with a canning lid and set it on top of some towels. The mixture will fizz and spill over the jar during the next few days. Fill the jar with more peppers or water as needed. Allow the peppers to ferment for at least one week, and up to two weeks.
After they’ve fermented, dump the sauce into a jar. Using gloves, pull out as many seeds as you can, while putting the jalapenos into a food processor. When you’ve got them all in, strain the liquid left over and add it to the food processor. Blend.
Congratulations, the hardest part is over! Now all you have to do is blend the following ingredients together in a food processor:
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 cup of the pureed pepper mash that you just made
- 2 garlic cloves (I used more like 5)
Now go put your homemade Sriracha on everything you eat. If you’re running out of ideas, this book can give you some tips on recipes to make with your hot sauce. Happy spicy eating!
The post Need to Spice Up Your Life? Make Your Own Hot Sauce! appeared first on DBRL Next.
Looks at the plight of eight homeless persons living in the Skid Row section of downtown Los Angeles. Examines the effects of gentrification, mental illness and drug abuse, and the criminalization of homelessness on the individuals profiled.
It’s nearly October. The days grow shorter and the temperatures colder. Halloween is on the horizon. So it seems appropriate that a ghost story of sorts tops this month’s LibraryReads list, the top 10 books publishing this month that librarian’s love. Make a cup of hot tea, curl up under your favorite blanket and lose yourself in one of these titles.
“A Sudden Light“
by Garth Stein
“Garth Stein has given us a masterpiece. This beautiful story takes readers on a thrilling exploration of a family estate brimming with generations of riveting Riddell family ghosts and secrets. This is a true exploratory novel, taking readers through secret passageways, hidden rooms and darkened corridors that engage all of the senses.”
- Whitney Gayle, James Blackstone Memorial Library, Branford, CT
by Jodi Picoult
“Leaving Time is a love story – love between mother and child, love between soulmates and love between elephants. The story is told from a variety of narrators, all of whom are broken and lost. Jenna is searching for answers to the disappearance of her mother and seeks the help of a retired police detective and a psychic. Alice, Jenna’s mom, disappeared after a tragic accident at the elephant sanctuary, and her work with the elephants is fascinating and touching. The book is an ode to motherhood in all its forms – the good, bad and the ugly – and it is brilliant.”
- Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, Austin, TX
“As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride“
by Cary Elwes with Joe Layden
“Even if you don’t have a crush on Cary Elwes, you’ll enjoy this vivid behind-the-scenes account of the making of The Princess Bride. His stories, especially those involving Andre the Giant, will leave you in stitches. Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Billy Crystal and others also recount their experiences. An amusing account of a group of performers who came together to make a heartfelt film that is loved by many.”
- Emily Weiss, Bedford Public Library, Bedford, NH
Here’s the rest of the October list with links to these on-order titles in our catalog for your hold-placing pleasure. Happy reading.
- “Not My Father’s Son: A Memoir” by Alan Cumming
- “Some Luck” by Jane Smiley
- “The Boy Who Drew Monsters” by Keith Donohue
- “The Life We Bury” by Allen Eskens
- “Reunion” by Hannah Pittard
- “Malice” by Keigo Higashino; translated by Alexander O. Smith
- “Murder at the Brightwell” by Ashley Weave
The post Top Ten Books Librarians Love: The October 2014 List appeared first on DBRL Next.
It’s Roots N Blues N BBQ time in mid-Missouri, which has us all hankering for good music and good food. If this festival leaves you hungry for more music from this year’s featured artists or inspired to fire up your own grill, your library has plenty of materials to satisfy your cravings!
New since last year’s festival is Hoopla, a service that allows you to stream and download music (and audiobooks, movies and television shows) to your smartphone, tablet or computer. You never have to wait to listen to music through Hoopla, because more than one person can access the same album at the same time. Want to listen to Roots N Blues artists Avett Brothers or Amos Lee right now? You can, through Hoopla.
Finally, if you haven’t gotten your fill of grilled meats, we have a whole slew of cookbooks for you to drool over. Enjoy!
September 29: “Code Black” 5:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m. at Forum 8. (via)
October 1: “Tim’s Vermeer” 8:00 p.m. at Wrench Auditorium, free. (via)
October 2: “Food Stamped” 8:00 p.m. at MU Student Center, free. (via)
Starting October 1, stop by the Southern Boone County Public Library in Ashland to pick up a list of challenges and clues for a library scavenger hunt. You can work solo or with a team of friends. Bring in your list and proof of completed tasks to the first ever Ashland Tween Night on Friday, October 17 at 6:30 p.m. Scavenger Hunt winners will receive a Barnes & Noble gift card. Ages 11 and older. Parental permission required.
Originally published at Program Preview: Ashland Scavenger Hunt.
Imagine being an ancient human and stumbling upon honey for the first time. Maybe you were out foraging for food in the forest and observed another creature, perhaps a bear, clawing around in a tree cavity and blissfully licking something golden from her paw, while batting at winged creatures buzzing angrily around her face. You waited her out and then crept up to the tree and found a chunk of something sticky and waxy on the ground. You swiped your finger across it and dabbed the substance on your tongue. Mmmm…whatever this was and however it got there, you wanted to share the news with your clan and figure out a way to make this thick liquid sweetness a regular part of your life.
Honey, the first sweetener known to humankind, has been prized as a food (and for medicinal properties) for thousands of years. It is no wonder that it tastes so lusciously divine, because it is essentially a reduction of flower nectar. The early honey hunters likely broke hives from tree branches and brought the hives home. Later, humans got the big idea to try and “keep” bees, and they devised cavities for bees to live in so they would manufacture their honey close by. Early beekeepers constructed hives that varied from mud or clay pots to wicker baskets to straw skeps. Later, in the 1850’s, a fellow named Langstroth devised a wooden hive that was so sweet-spot-on in design and usefulness that it remains the hive of choice by today’s modern beekeepers.
So humans and bees have had an intimate relationship (with the aid of smoke which calms the bees while their hives are harvested) for a very long time. Honey is not the only reason bees are revered by humans. Bees build comb out of self-generated wax in which to store their honey and brood (baby bees); this wax is harvested to make candles and to use as an ingredient in cosmetics. Pollen, also gathered by bees to feed their young, is collected and consumed for its therapeutic properties.
Perhaps the most important of all the gifts we receive from honey bees is their fertilization (or pollination) of plants, a natural act completed in their process of gathering nectar and pollen. As they fly from flower to flower, they transfer pollen grains between the blossoms – this pollinating activity is what makes large scale agricultural production possible. It’s because of the bees that we have fruits and vegetables amply available to us. In fact we are truly dependent on them for much of our food supply.
So it was with great alarm, back around 2004, that beekeepers started to report that bees were mysteriously vanishing in droves. This syndrome of disappearance now has the name “Colony Collapse Disorder,” and though its exact causes are not known, likely culprits include pesticides, mite infections and malnutrition. So with this dark turn of events, how can we celebrate National Honey Month and the honey bees? I believe it is imperative that we support organic farming methods because these methods avoid the use of pesticides that are damaging to honey bees as well as other beneficial insects. And we can support our beekeepers by purchasing their honey and other bee products, of course.
The post A Sweetener Like No Other: Celebrating National Honey Month appeared first on DBRL Next.
I like to think of Maya Angelou as a native Missourian, although she spent only a small percentage of her life in the state. She was born in St. Louis in 1928 with the name Marguerite Anne Johnson. Upon the break-up of her parents’ marriage when she was three years old, she and her older brother Bailey were sent to live with their paternal grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas.
This is where her story begins in the memoir “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” The most well-known of her books, it follows her life through the age of 17, ending with the birth of her son. She shared more about her remarkable life in subsequent volumes, conducting readers on a tour of the circuitous route that led to her achievements as an author, poet, performer, activist and San Francisco’s first black streetcar conductor. It’s a truly American story: a scared little girl feeling abandoned by her parents grows up to present an inaugural poem for one president and receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from another.
But some details show less pleasant aspects of the country, including troubled race relations. Angelou describes her grandmother’s worried anguish when by-then teenaged Bailey fails to come home on time. “The Black woman in the South who raised sons, grandsons and nephews had her heartstrings tied to a hanging noose.”
Maya and Bailey found themselves shuttled back and forth a few times among parents and grandparents. It was during their second St. Louis sojourn that one of the most disturbing events of the book happened – 8-year-old Maya was raped by her mother’s boyfriend. The child stopped speaking to anyone but her brother. But after they returned to Arkansas, something inspiring occurred. Her grandmother’s neighbor and friend, Mrs. Bertha Flowers, helped her regain her voice through the power of literature, inviting the girl to read great books with her.
Eventually Maya’s parents both migrated to California, and the two kids followed. This is where the story wraps up, but not before some major learning and growth on Maya’s part, including a short stint as a runaway living on the streets. She fell in with a group of other homeless teens, who provided her first experience of true cooperation and equality among different races. The influence was lasting, and her words about it seem like a good place to conclude, as they describe so much of her life’s work: “After hunting down unbroken bottles and selling them with a white girl from Missouri, a Mexican girl from Los Angeles and a Black girl from Oklahoma, I was never again to sense myself so solidly outside the pale of the human race. The lack of criticism evidenced by our ad hoc community influenced me, and set a tone of tolerance for my life.”
We recently added “The Trials of Muhammad Ali” to the DBRL collection. The film played earlier this year on the PBS series Independent Lens and currently has a rating of 92% from critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a synopsis from our catalog:
The powerful documentary examines the life of Muhammad Ali beyond the boxing ring to offer a personal perspective on the American sporting legend. Investigating Ali’s spiritual transformation includes his conversion to Islam, resistance to the Vietnam War draft, and humanitarian work. The documentary connects Ali’s transcendent life story to America’ struggles with race, religion, and war in the twentieth century.
The registration deadline for the November 8 SAT exam is Thursday, October 9. Sign-up online.
If you would like to know more about testing locations, exam costs and fee waivers, please visit our online guide to SAT/ACT preparation. The library also has a wide selection of printed ACT and SAT test guides for you to borrow.
Our most popular resource for test-takers, though, is LearningExpress Library. Through this website, you may take free online practice tests for the ACT or SAT exam. To access LearningExpress Library, you will need to login using your DBRL library card number. Your PIN is your birthdate (MMDDYYYY). If you have questions or encounter difficulties logging in, please call (800) 324-4806.
Finally, don’t forget to subscribe to our blog updates for regular reminders of upcoming test registration deadlines!
Originally published at October 9 Registration Deadline for November SAT Exam.
Young Adult Author Antony John will visit the Columbia Public Library on Thursday October 16 at 7 p.m. Antony is the author of the award-winning book “Five Flavors of Dumb” as well as “Elemental” which is a current Truman Award nominee.
Before moving to St. Louis, Antony lived in England where he was raised on a balanced diet of fish and chips, obscure British comedies and ABBA’s Greatest Hits. Along his journey to becoming a writer, he worked as an ice cream seller on a freezing English beach, a tour guide in the Netherlands, a chauffeur in Switzerland, a barista in Seattle, and a university professor.
“Five Flavors of Dumb” was Antony’s second book for young adults and won the prestigious Schneider Family Book Award. This award honors writers for their creative depiction of what it’s like to live with a disability. Dumb is not the name Piper, a high school senior who is Deaf, would have chosen for a heavy metal band, yet she volunteers to manage this disparate group of would-be musicians. In her attempt to make Dumb profitable, Piper learns a few things about music and business, striking a chord within herself. Read the first chapter on Antony’s website.
“Elemental” is the first book in Anthony’s fantasy trilogy. “Firebrand,” the second title in the series, is his most recently published book. The main character, Thomas, has always been an outsider. The first child born without the power of an element—earth, water, wind, or fire—he has little to offer his tiny, remote Outer Banks colony. Or so the Guardians would have him believe.
In the wake of an unforeseen storm, desperate pirates kidnap the Guardians, intent on claiming the island as their own. Caught between the plague-ridden mainland and the advancing pirates, Thomas and his friends fight for survival in the battered remains of a mysterious abandoned settlement. But the secrets they unearth will turn Thomas’s world upside-down, and bring to light not only a treacherous past but also a future more dangerous than he can possibly imagine. Antony also has excerpts for both “Elemental” and “Firebrand” on his website.
Books will be for sale by Barnes and Noble and a book signing will follow the program.
Originally published at Author Antony John Visits October 16.
Editor’s note: This review was submitted by a library patron during the 2014 Adult Summer Reading program. We will continue to periodically share some of these reviews throughout the year.
With dual stories, the plot develops quickly in “The Steady Running of the Hour” by Justin Go. The WWI background brings to life a period that resonates decades later, with a descendant racing a clock to find out his ancestry. As an interested party to genealogy research, I liked the connection and the questions that were raised – and I felt the same desire that I wanted to talk to these people who came before me. The ending may be a surprise – that may be what I didn’t like about the book, but I am still thinking about it.
Three words that describe this book: historical, engaging, provocative
You might want to pick this book up if: you are interested in WWI. WWI tends to be overshadowed by the Second World War, so this book delves into lives of Europeans at this time period and the aftermath of the next decade. Also, mystery readers will enjoy the plot development.
The documentary “20 Feet From Stardom” (91 min.) focuses on the voices behind the greatest rock, pop and R&B hits of all time, but no one knows their names. Now, in this award-winning documentary, director Morgan Neville shines the spotlight on the untold stories of such legendary background singers as Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Judith Hill, and more. This film played at the True/False Film Festival in 2013. We also have the film soundtrack at the library.
Never in my life did I plan on traveling to Nuremberg. For one thing, as far as I knew, it was a relatively ordinary German town, remembered mostly for the Nuremberg Trials, a series of military tribunals held there by the Allied forces after World War II. For another thing, it’s hard for me, a Jew, to visit a place whose prominence is based on its Nazi past. Yet there I was, with a group of tourists who were brought there by their passion for travel, and who were kept together by Tunde, our energetic Hungarian tour director, and Giorgio, our Italian bus driver. It was an English-speaking tour, although we had two South-Korean young women, six Lebanese middle-aged women, a Filipino family with an adult son (all now living in California), a Brazilian and a Portuguese married to each other (now living in Florida), quite a few Brits (some born and raised there and some brought there from Greece or Spain by marriage or other verisimilitudes of life), lots of Australians (strangely, mostly of Italian descent), one former Russian (me) and several American couples – 47 people in all.
We were traveling to Prague (our tour started in Munich), and Nuremberg was just a convenient place for our bus to stop and for us to have lunch in the center of this medieval Bavarian town. Tunde gave us a brief introduction to the city, and Giorgio dropped us off at the Old Town. At first, we walked around the ornate Beautiful Fountain (that is its actual name!), densely surrounded by tourists trying to reach two golden rings welded within the fountain’s iron fence. (A legend says that if you turn the “golden ring” and make a wish, it will come true.) Then we spent several minutes gazing at the prominent facade of the Church of Our Lady, whose mechanical clock comes to life every day at noon. Finally, we wandered up the street to the Kaiseburg Castle, one of the most important royal palaces in the Middle Ages.
There was no lack of cafes and restaurants anywhere, many spilling invitingly on the streets, offering beer, sausages and other German staples. Everything looked clean and appealing: the signs, the potted flowers on the window sills and the waitresses’ uniforms. After lunch, I thought briefly about visiting the Albrecht-Durer’s House, but our time in Nuremberg was up and soon we boarded our bus and moved on.
“That was a very cute town,” somebody said behind me.
“Sure,” I thought. “Today it is. But what was it in the past?”
Nuremberg first rose to prominence in the Middle Ages, as a key point on trade routes. The first big Jewish pogrom there took place in 1298. Some 700 people were killed, and a church and a city hall were built where they used to live. In the late Middle Ages, Nuremberg became known as a center of science, printing and invention. Albrecht Durer produced the first printed star charts there, Nicolaus Copernicus published the main part of his work and baroque composer Johann Pachelbel, native of Nuremberg, received his early musical education there.
In the 20th century, the reputation of Nuremberg changed dramatically. From 1927 to 1938, it served as a playground for Nazi Party conventions (the Nuremberg Rallies), and quite a few buildings were built there to accommodate them. After Hitler’s rise to power in 1933, these rallies became important propaganda events. At one of them Hitler passed the anti-Semitic laws, which took German citizenship away from all Jews. The pogrom of Kristallnacht, a precursor to Hitler’s Final Solution, was crueler in Nuremberg than anywhere else in Germany. (So far, Nuremberg city archives contain the names of 2,374 of Nuremberg’s Holocaust victims.)
During World War II, the city served as a site for military district headquarters and military production. Airplanes, submarines and tank engines were built there, with many factories using slave labor (a branch of Flossenburg concentration camp was there as well). After the war, Nuremberg was selected for conducting the International Military Tribunals (a choice based largely on the city’s importance for the Nazi party), where high-ranking Nazi officials, officers, doctors and judges were prosecuted for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Nuremberg was heavily bombed during the war – a fact many tourists wouldn’t even know, since most of the city was rebuilt (with the exception of the Nazi Party Rally Grounds, which were left in ruins) and its prominent Medieval buildings reconstructed. Today, the city boasts Germany’s most famous Christmas market, the world’s largest toy fair, car races and many cultural events from folk festivals to classical open-air concerts. Tourists come here from all over the world, eager to inhale the medieval charm of the Old Town, try new foods and generally enjoy themselves.
Nuremberg is a city in one of Europe’s richest countries – the status Germany achieved not by conquering other nations and erasing whole populations from the face of the earth, but by implementing a good education system, supporting businesses, maintaining a stable political system and encouraging perfect work ethics. Ironic, isn’t it? So what was it all about: the fighting, the deaths and the suffering of so many? Was it just a fluke? A lesson to remember? If so, how long must we remember? Ten years, twenty, a hundred? And is remembering always a good thing? Centuries-old ethnic and religious conflicts still result in horrific events even now. How strange it must be to be a German tourist, since so many places still preserve the evidence of their country’s infamous past.
Not Nuremberg, though. There, everything is minimized. In fact, the first memorial to the Nuremberg Trials was not opened there until November 2010. Well, who can blame them for not willing to stir up the past? As they say, let sleeping dogs lie. It’s time to move on – as in fact we were, for our tour bus was already rolling along the pretty Bavarian landscape, carrying us to Prague.
Hear One Read author Daniel James Brown speak about his research and writing process in the creation of “The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.” He will answer questions from the audience and sign books following the talk.
Tuesday, September 30 at 7:00 p.m.
B.J. Novak has been somewhat active: from his humble beginnings as the cad Ryan Howard, subject of the hit hundred-hours-long documentary “The Office,” to the trials associated with choosing his favorite initials and legally changing his name to them in a futile attempt to exercise his awful reputation, to writing a collection of stories that are good enough to almost make one forget how mean he was to Kelly and Jim, to being recommended by this blog post. It’s enough to make me of a mind to recline with a nice pastry and a warmed washcloth.
Consisting of 64 pieces, the collection opens with the long-awaited sequel to “The Tortoise and the Hare,” which finally puts that pompous tortoise in its place and updates the original’s creaky old moral, and closes with “Discussion Questions,” which will be a nice jumping off point for your book club or master’s thesis. In between we get a man dealing with the fame associated with returning a sex robot because it fell in love with him. We finally learn the truth about Elvis Presley’s death (and a little about ourselves!). Nelson Mandela gets roasted by Comedy Central and its usual cast of ribald hacks. A boy wins a cereal box sweepstakes only to be ruled ineligible because it turns out his real father is Kellogg’s CEO. A woman goes on a blind date with a warlord. In “No One Goes to Heaven to See Dan Fogelberg,” a man reaches heaven and enjoys a series of concerts performed by history’s greatest musicians until backstage access at a Frank Sinatra show reveals a different side of his grandmother. One story is called “Wikipedia Brown and the Case of the Missing Bicycle.”
If a book has 64 pieces and is still light enough for my dandy-ish arms to lug around from my fainting couches to the snack emporium to my sleep chamber to my eating pit, then many of the stories must be very brief indeed. To show you how my arms, weakened by a life of near-constant lounging, could possibly carry ANYTHING with 64 of something in it, I will reprint one story in its entirety:
Romance, Chapter One
“The cute one?”
“No, the other cute one.”
“Oh, she’s cute too.”
There are several pieces of this sort. There’s stuff here that will please fans of Internet sensation “The Onion,” and there is stuff that will make you hungry for other foods too. There is more than comedy and absurdity here, sometimes things get downright philosophical and/or sad, like when the lovelorn sex robot tries to keep her beloved in the room with her with the promise of needing to say just “one more thing.” Sometimes it’s sad and funny, like the absurd “Missed Connection” ad posted by someone who most definitely “connected” with the intended reader over the course of many hours.
Mr. Novak wrote a really nifty book, and I’m so excited to see what he does next that I’ve fainted twice in the course of typing this sentence and so will cut it short, as I’m nowhere near the appropriate furniture, before a third spell happens upon me.