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That sounds like an admission of guilt or something. In reality, I’ve just been living and not really had anything I wanted to write about. Life keeps on moving. The boy went back to his father’s house shortly after my last post, things got really busy at the library and my energy was needed for other things.
On to bigger and better things:
May is bike to work month and I’ve been going full swing. My plan is to ride 100% to work this month and I’ve done it so far, with only a few days left to go. I’ve got 227 commuting miles under my belt and have actually ridden at least 20 more (I stopped keeping track) for side trips before or after work. My team is amazing, having ridden 1130 miles this month so far. We’re beating our rival team by over 200 miles.
The boy and I went to the University Street Fair on Saturday and we got him a bunch of art supplies for his birthday. I let him pick what he wanted, but was happy that he asked my opinion. I’m not terribly artistic, but I’ve used most mediums at some point or another and have had artists as friends, so I was able to steer him towards some nice brush and thin tip markers and we got him a calligraphy set inspired by an artist we saw at an all ages show last year.
On Sunday we went to my dad’s and I put the new bike together…well, mostly. It turns out I was missing a headset, so I’ve ordered that and I don’t think that will be hard to put on. Then I’ll need to practice because I’ve never spent much time on a road bike. It’s really different from the upright of a mountain bike. I am so excited to ride this bike during STP.
And finally, I’m seeing a new special someone. It’s only been a couple of weeks, but I’m optimistic (probably too much so). I keep expecting someone to jump out at me and say “you’re not allowed to be this happy, give that back!” He’s sweet and strong and fun and that’s all you get for now.
Ok, I’m back (I think, might be too soon to say). The Boy and I have been setting up house, getting used to each other again and struggling with homework discipline. He is coming around on the latter, slowly but surely. His grades are good, but it’s early to say that and the hard projects are coming. I’m hoping we can get him into a healthy pattern before they start. He seems to see the wisdom I’m preaching, when he isn’t rolling his eyes or telling me not to act like he’s stupid. We’re working on it.
And “The Boy” just sticks for me. I guess he will always be my boy, so not a big deal to call him such. Especially here where he never bothers to tread. I try to keep the embarrassing bits to myself anyhow.
So, libraryland is busy as always. The new session of TAG is underway and while my group is smaller, it seems more solid. I have a lot of kids back from last year and a few new people. There are definitely a couple of dominating personalities, so I will be looking into learning about moderating meetings in that situation.
I took a beginning Excel class offered to city employees. I expected to be bored for most of it, since I’ve been using Excel pretty often for the last 10 years, but I was pleasantly surprised that I learned something new through most of the training. Part of it was learning where things are in the ribbon, which I admit has been making life difficult since the upgrade to Windows 2007. I got my questions answered too, which will make me a better treasurer and would likely land me the temp job of my choice!
I also wrote my first “professional” blog post, over there–> It’s nothing revolutionary, but something I am interested in and not necessarily librariany. I have some thoughts for a couple more, but need a few minutes at work to write them down. Then I have some more reading and thought processing to do.
I had some fun with the pictures in the header. They are all pictures I took, mostly around Seattle. I like how they fit my mood and seem to fit my profession.
Ok, I’m off. Lots to do this lovely Saturday that is likely to be the last sunny day in a while. Ciao.
Despite being tired it has been an excellent day. Someday I will grow up and realize that I should not stay up till all hours reading.
However! I got to make up my listening session with our interim City Librarian. There were only 3 of us there this morning, and her, and I really felt heard. I have high hopes that there will be things happening soon. Things that should make us all a little happier. We should hear more next week.
And! I got my funding! For my advisory group! I am so excited! Can you tell!?! Pizza for everybody!
And I moved all my new books to shelving where there is more room, because there are too many of them. It seems like every month I have more new books than the last. Don’t get me wrong, this is a good thing, but where to put them all? Next I am going to have to read fiction again. I have been enlisting the help of my awesome LAIV to help me do dusty shelf lists–it makes it easier to let them go if I just read over the titles after he’s pulled them. If I handle them all, I want to keep them. We have more of a connection.
What am I reading? I have been super lazy about updating goodreads and netgalley. I hope they will forgive me for another week or so. But I have been reading. When don’t I?
I am trying to finish Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin because it is due tomorrow. I heard about it from a friend who wrote a blog post for the library. It intrigued me enough to use one of my precious 25 hold spots for it, although the library didn’t have very many copies so it took a while to get it. In the mean time, I totally forgot why I put it on hold. I finally remembered today when I was talking about it with my manager. This series was first published in the late 70′s and details life in that time in San Francisco. As you can imagine, there is a lot of love going on, love of all kinds. It is San Francisco after all. I think one of the reasons why the description of this book was so appealing was because my uncle ran away to San Francisco when he was young, in the 70′s. I hoped to see a little of what his life might have been like then. He came back later, with a life partner and aids. I loved him very much, even though I didn’t spend time with him until his return. There was one visit to see them in San Fran when I was a kid, but I really only remember stuffing chicken in my cheeks. I was going through a phase where I didn’t want to swallow food.
I can’t know if this book gives a window into what he experienced. He’s been gone for a while now, and his partner several years later. There’s no one left to ask. I hope he enjoyed it. Tales of the City makes it sound like it could have been fun, and if not, then seriously interesting. The characters are deep, although you don’t realize it at first, and Maupin has a crazy way of making all of them interconnected. Toward the end of the book, where I am now, you come to realize there is a mystery. I don’t know what it is yet, but I think I will very soon. It might be another late night.
I am occasionally… well… silly? And I don’t mind saying so, yes I am sure there are more pertinent words. Sometimes my mind doesn’t make word associations, or I can’t think of the word that I want. Luckily I work and live in places where I can look things up constantly. In fact, that is about 50% of my job.
So, I was out with family last night after my dad’s choir performance and the boys were talking about Starcraft. That is a foreign language to me (I seriously didn’t know most of the nouns and verbs they were using). My sister and I just found other things to talk about, between throwing napkins at them, until I brought up the subject of BFD. I was explaining to her about why I called the place where my son lives that acronym and she said “yeah, or you could mean BFD.” I was lost, and she explained and I was flabbergasted.
You all probably thought of that right away and thought “she sure is going a long way to make this stuff up.” But really, honestly in all the years I’ve been blogging never thought of Big F*ing Deal. Never did. Until now. My reference is ruined. I will have to think of a new moniker. Any ideas? Something that won’t give the actual place away?
What am I reading? Well, my sound recording of the newest Bloody Jack book has let me down. Somehow it ended at the end of chapter 53 (yes, there are a lot of chapters) and it wasn’t over yet. I have to find out what happened to my missing chapters. However, I have heard enough to be cautionary to younger readers. These books get a bit promiscuous. This one has a whole ship of prostitutes and the captain has some interesting views. I still love it, but will be more careful about recommending the series to young readers.
Nothing to Envy is still holding my interest. It takes me longer to read real adult books, but I am 2/3′s of the way through, so will have a report for you soon.
I am rewatching rab ne bana di Jodi. It is the first real bollywood movie I saw after Slumdog Millionaire. I forgot how much I liked it. The dream dance sequence is sublime. Forgive the ad.
I can’t let my readers scare me. I know there are some who are reading my blog in hopes to find some thing to report; to shame me or to prove that I dislike my son’s other family. Just so you know, if you find some thing that fits your criteria, you have fabricated it to be so. While we have our differences in parenting styles and social mores, I don’t think badly of them and in fact really respect the things they have accomplished since I have known them. If the circumstances were different, if we didn’t have the history, I believe we could have been friends.
I ran from my last blog, which had a healthy amount of followers, when I found that some were scouring it for “bad things” to pass on. I hated the idea of being watched like that. I akin it to living in a small town, knowing all your neighbors and somehow garnering a bad reputation so that the local past time becomes spotting your next transgression. It’s enough to make you want to pull up stakes and move out of town. That is the cowards way out though and I won’t be doing it again. If you want to know what I am up to, you can continue to find out right here. Hopefully the neighbors will get bored and start minding their own business, but I’m not counting on it. I am also not making my Twitter private, as I think it takes away from the point of it all. I will block trolls though.
I like this blog. I plan to make it better and maybe stop being lazy and start including more pictures–at least of book covers. I admit that I hate finding a cover, downloading the picture then uploading it again. I wish there was some photo repository in the sky (or the cloud) where I could just link to the url. Maybe Goodreads will let me use theirs…
Oh, and yes I have learned my lesson. No more sarcastic twitter posts about misspellings. Be nice and let the person know. These days you can’t assume you are shouting into a void. And I should help my friends, not mock them, however anonymous it felt at the time.
I keep trying to figure out why I like Glee, when I hated High School Musical. It frustrates me, with the shallow story lines and the patterns of idiotic behavior. But then they go and point out the idiocy and own it. And they sing songs I know instead of some craptastic ballad that just makes me want to rip my hair out. So yeah, I like Glee. High School Musical…not at all. I am just starting Season 1 Part 2 and I spent the first half of the first episode feeling tired of the corny plot and the second half invigorated with they ways they used the Madonna theme move the story in new directions. Oh, and I got it at the library.
Twitter seems ok. It’s like Facebook, but with less stuff. No imbedded pics, links, but no preview. I’ve found a lot of cool things there; a video about why Twilight is popular (ha!), that my favorite authors have funny and witty things to say in less than 140 characters and that The Onion posts A LOT.
I biked to work today and ran around Green Lake with my brothers. It kind of wore me out, but in a good way. Hopefully I will add more running to my routine and keep it up. I bottled some more ginger ale when I got home. The last batch was super yummy, but tasted more like sparkling ginger lemonade than ginger ale. I tweaked the recipe and split it in two, one with some ground ginger and the other only with fresh, but with a bit less lemon juice and sugar.
What am I reading? Like the Percy Jackson series, Iris, Messenger by Sarah Deming integrates greek mythology, but that is where the comparison ends. Iris has a terrible time at school, and her parents just don’t understand her. Then one birthday she gets a mysterious gift that leads her to find out that the Greek gods have moved to the burbs and have all kinds of problems of their own. The gods tell their stories (popular Greek myths) to Iris, building up to a final message that enlightens her in ways she never would have guessed. This is a good story for younger readers (except for the ending…), and while it is a quick read, it lacks the frenzied pace of Percy.
The file for My Favorite Band Does Not Exist had a fatal flaw and would not go past page 18. I am hoping to get a chance to read it later, as the beginning was pretty good. I am currently reading Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood, which was recommended by my sister. It is also based on a Greek myth–Penelope of the Odyssey. I am constantly amazed by the breadth and depth of Ms. Atwood’s writing. To think this is the same author that wrote Oryx and Crake.
Since making angry noises on David Lee King’s blog, when he proposed that librarians should be required have their full name and picture posted on library web sites for a customer service angle, I have been evaluating having an online presence. Up until now I have been pretty careful with my identity on the internet. I just haven’t been ready to trust the world to leave me alone, partially due to having an ex who takes everything I say online very seriously and usually wrongly. I was even surprised recently that his wife, who I thought was fairly savvy on the internet, saw my online prattling to mean that I spent a lot of time at happy hour and getting massages. Since these people are already seeing me online and judging me by what I say here, why not let the world?
So I have opened up my Google profile (and so my Reader posts) to be public, linked to my Linked-In profile and vice versa and to this blog. I partially made this decision because of an article I read recently (which of course I cannot find now) about how prospective employers expect you to have an online presence and how if everything is locked down, you must have something to hide. My Facebook is still pretty locked down, although you can find my name on there . Even though I made my Google profile searchable, it isn’t coming up in a search–the fact that I have a pretty common name probably doesn’t help. My linked-in profile is on top if you include my profession and city, but the MySpace hit is for someone else–probably because I have been inactive on there for so long.
I’m not going to do anything further to make it easier to find me right now. Baby steps. Most references you can find of me on the web, if you can weed them out of the b-actress hits, are from when I helped with local conferences. Most library related things only show my first name and most comments and such use my couple of screen names. I will see how this goes, then maybe open up a little more. I still don’t agree with David’s premise that all librarians should be required to give up full names and pictures on a public website, but I can see the usefulness in doing so on a voluntary basis.
I’ve had the last few days off and spent the time taking my brother and his girlfriend sight seeing and to visit other family members. We went to the Boy’s basketball game on Friday and he came home with us and he is still here now. Yesterday was spent wandering around Pike Place Market, and of course we went to the Central Library. We stopped at Dick’s in Queen Anne on the way back–the only place where you can get two filling meals for $10 (not something you want to do everyday, as I believe you will start having hamburger shaped protrusions emerge from your abdomen in a short time). We took the bus around, which always lends to interesting people watching opportunities. It’s fun being a tourist in your own city and even more fun to show off the highlights to visitors. Next time we will have to get to the zoo and aquarium.
What am I reading? I finished The Atomic Weight of Secrets by Eden Unger Bowditch. It was a fun book and will be great for kids (or adults) who like A Series of Unfortunate Events. The adventure is set in 1903, and 5 children are thrown together when their scientist parents are needed for some super-secret project. The project is so super-secret that the kids don’t know where they are or why they have been separated and go about inventing things to help them get away from the school they have been sent to and to find their missing parents.
The idea that the children of super intelligent parents will also turn out to be brilliant didn’t sit that well with me, but otherwise the story was great. A scene where a teacher is beaten by a bad guy for information and the history of neglect by the parents of the children are a bit disturbing, so I wouldn’t recommend it to sensitive children. I’d say the age is 7-12, but that anyone would like this book. I am only sorry it doesn’t come out until April so I can’t start recommending it right away.
I am reading Reckless by Cornelia Funke, and while I like it, I don’t see that it is a children’s book. It is dark, all the characters are older and I think most kids would find it scary. It should have been put in teen or adult, but in our library system it is in the J (juvenile) section.
It’s been a busy week. I have been weeding again at work and decided to use a dusty shelf list for the first time ever. Some people will find it amazing that I have never used one before, but my other branches were small enough that it made sense to go through every book in my teen collection. In fact, it made sense for my first big weed here at my new branch, so that I could get to know my collection better. However, I can now say that it is big and I need to save time. So I ran a dusty shelf list–anything that hasn’t circ’d in a year–then went through and pulled anything that looked yucky (water damage, food stains, obvious wear and tear). That did the trick and I am very happy with the results. Because another thing about a large branch? When all the kids going back to school bring back all their books at once, suddenly your shelves go from having some wiggle room to blowing off the book ends. Shelver hell.
I am also on a short term committee to find a good scheduling software. So, um, if you know of any, please email me. We just scheduled February and March computer classes, but found out that our grant for job classes has run out. That’s ok at my branch, as we had pretty low attendance for those, but I am sure it will hurt in other areas.
So how about that Amazon issue on free speech? All I care about the issue is talked about over here, and since I don’t really want to fan the flames on that one, I will leave it there.
I also had some fun times the last week or so. I saw Stars at the Showbox. They are everything I love about music. Amy’s voice is like an unannoying angel and Torquil counters her sound perfectly. Like talking heads and…I don’t know. Just perfect.
And the next day I played Kinect at my brother’s place. That is a fun system–loved the dance game we played. Part of the point was to look like an idiot, so I fit right in with everyone ;) The Boy was with me and he had a good time with it too. He says he will wait until it has better games before he upgrades, though.
Today I stayed home instead of going on a stellar bike ride with some coworkers (’cause nothing says Veteran’s Day like a long ride…) due to a mishap with a bus tunnel escalator in which the escalator won. Just an FYI, wet shoes+metal escalator=fly through the air. My arm took most of the damage when I grabbed the rail to stop my fall. Should be better in a couple of days. In the mean time, I felt compelled to up my caloric intake:
On the left are some orange caramels that I made after boiling sugar water for the candied orange peels on the right. Behind them is the Harvest bread I made from the Macrina Bakery cookbook. I so hope it is similar to the bread that I scarf every time I go to Top Pot lately. I cheated a bit with the milk in these recipes. I didn’t have heavy cream for the caramels, so when I heated my non-fat, I added a tablespoon of butter. I also didn’t have buttermilk for the bread, so I added 1tbsp of lemon juice per 1 cup of milk. The caramels are delicious and I can’t tell any difference from the time I made them with cream.
What am I reading? I just started getting galleys from netgalley, because I found out I could read them on my ipod using the Bluefire app. I find I actually like reading on my iPod, although I am not sure about buying digital books–mostly because I mostly only buy physical books to give away–but I hear that the library is talking to Bluefire to make an agreement so that ebooks loaned by the library from Overdrive would be able to be transfered the same way. Crossing my fingers!
The galley I am reading now is The Lying Game by Sara Shepard–the same author as the series Pretty Little Liars. This book is the story of Emma, a foster kid who is somehow still a sweetie, who just wants to graduate high school and go to college. That becomes impossible when her foster family’s son decides to frame her for stealing and they inform her that she will be out on her 18th birthday, only 2 weeks into senior year. Emma thinks things might get better when she finds out she had a twin sister and that she is living close by, adopted by a well off family in Arizona. She goes to meet this sister, Sutton, only to find herself trapped in a situation where he sister has been murdered and she is forced to pretend to be Sutton, or be murdered herself. This book is a bit like Lovely Bones, as Sutton is a character in the story, a ghost who is constantly looking over Emma’s shoulder, hoping to find out who is behind her murder. I am enjoying it so far, although I don’t usually like books with the mean girl element. Flash backs to middle school, you know.
Of course I loved Behemoth and decided to get both it and Leviathan on CD for our driving trip over the holiday. My co-worker told me that the reader is amazing, so it seems like a good bet. Then I can get The Boy hooked on them too.
So much! My brain and heart are so full!
My lovely sister got married to her lovely fiancé. The wedding was beautiful and perfect and it was so wonderful to see such wonderful people tie the knot. Sister made a lot of what made the wedding special and it was cool to see all of that come together. It was such a fun night. Lots of dancing and I had my best boys with me. The Mister came to town and we had a pretty amazing week.
On Monday I visited my friend who is leaving our system and she invited us to go sailing the next day. We spent the day Tuesday on one of the Seattle Sailing Clubs boats with her, her husband and her sister. We motored out to Poulsbo, had lunch at this fun little pub complete with penny beers, and scavenged in the local shops. On the way back we got to put up the sails and I got to hold the wheel for a little while. I’d love to do it again.
On Wednesday I helped my sister make her bridal favors in the morning and went to the Offspring’s school bbq in the afternoon. It is funny watching him interacting with his schoolmates. Because all 3 schools are on the same campus, all ages were at the bbq. There was a group of middle school volleyball girls that seem to have quite a crush on him. We recently had a talk about age appropriateness, so he was careful to try not to let them hug him while I was around. The girl he has a crush on right now wasn’t there, since she is apparently home schooled. She is 14 and supposed to be in 9th grade, he’s 16 and in 10th grade. He’s not really allowed to date her, but they can be friends. Being a parent to a teen is very interesting. It is hard sometimes to know what the rules are myself, but we’ve had a lot of conversations lately about lines that cannot be crossed. I hope he understands we aren’t just being stuffy old people. Mostly we still get along, but he lies more now than he used to, and it is hard to know what is the truth.
On Thursday The Mister and I went out to St. Edwards Park and hiked around the trails there. It is a really beautiful setting although the trails aren’t particularly long or difficult. I had gotten some macaroons and a blackberry danish from Honore in Ballard when I picked up the umbrellas for Sister’s wedding. We ate them in the car after our hiking and they were wonderful. To top the day we went to Chateau Ste Michelle and the Columbia winery for a tour and some wine tasting. I ended up joining at the Columbia Winery and got a really lovely Voignier to bring home.
Friday was the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner. The first went smoothly and the second was yummy. We have some history of going to La Vita E Bella in our family, and have even visited there with the grooms family in the past. Saturday was sleeping late and getting ready. We showed up at the reception venue at 2:30, got everything ready then went over to St. Mark’s for the pictures and ceremony. Despite not being a christian myself, I was impressed with the priest, who was a woman. Since St. Mark’s resembles a catholic church, I have always envisioned some puffed up man in the usual get up full of pent up sexual rage (ok, none of the priests I grew up around really fit that vision either, but it sounds good, no?) Elizabeth gave a fine wedding ceremony despite all those words about making babies to raise in the ways of the lord.
The reception was held at the Daughter’s of the American Revolution hall, which I didn’t even know existed. I always thought that building was somehow connected to Cornish. It is a pretty interesting space, with persian rugs and crystal chandeliers. Plus they have lots of shiny wood floors that are great for dancing on. We had a lot of good dancers out there, and the biggest surprise of all was seeing the mother of the bride out there shaking it up. The Offspring showed that he has some pretty good moves and I got The Mister to join me for a couple of songs, too.
On Sunday everyone dragged their asses out of bed for more fun. Some went to the bride’s mother’s house for brunch, but we didn’t make it until the bbq at our dad’s place. I got another chance to see family that had left the previous evening’s shenanigans early and we ate lots of good food and had left over wedding cake. It was a nice end to the weekend.
All right, I am too tired to talk coherently about what I am reading right now. I’ll try to get to that in the next couple of days. There is also more on the budget front, but I have mostly been trying to let that go at the moment, since there is nothing I can do about it. I did have an awesome TAG meeting (Teen Advisory Meeting) and I will write more about that later. Tomorrow is cleaning day so I had best go get some sleep so that I can actually get something done.
I have been working on what librarians do best. Research. We have two people (George and Joan) coming to facilitate our librarian “forum” in two weeks and I wanted to know more about them. It is pretty much what you’d expect from two long time administrators that haven’t been on a reference desk for 20+ years. They are definitely library advocates, but they are part of the “budget cuts are a great time for big changes” school. They don’t out and out say that librarians are outmoded, but what I have heard so far, they don’t make any statements about what librarians bring to the library.
Like that we are the ones that develop and test the programs they are going to continue without us. That we can find the information you are looking for, even if you don’t know for sure what it is when you come to us. As libraries crowd out librarians, patrons will get less of what they want, but they might not even know it. Eventually the library won’t be known for the place to get answers, it will just be a place to pick up your materials and use wifi, which will edge out the young and the poor. Seattle will no longer be known for its smart population, its excellence in literacy. I won’t go so far to say that our poor will drop into wrack and ruin, but lower test scores for under-served populations and all that means for their future…that I will predict. There is a direct correlation between summer reading programs and maintaining literacy levels into the next school year.
I hate the fact that I am developing an advisory board for someone else now. But I have to make the best of it. This is great experience and I have a lot of support from my manager and former managers. I will have great references when I am looking for a job. My biggest question is whether I would take one of those clerk positions when the lay-offs come. According to our contract they have to allow a laid off person to take the lowest level of whatever other position they qualify for (I think I got that right). I would have a really hard time doing the LAIV job, basically my job, for much less pay, but not being able to do real reference or readers advisory. How do you explain to a patron, “well, I could help you, but I am not supposed to. Let me call someone who is allowed to.” ???
On a lighter note, The Mister is coming home today! I am meeting him at the airport at around 6 and we are going to go to Georgetown on the way home. I know it has only been a week, but I have missed him. I also have the week off, partially to spend time with him, and partially to help with my sister’s wedding. She gets married on Saturday :) I am so happy for her.