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Home life has been slow and peaceful.  The Mister’s dad and step-mom came to town and we tried out Smokin’ Pete’s bbq.  It is so much better than Gabriel’s Fire!  All of the meats and sides were scrumptious.  A common complaint of mine…the cornbread was really dry.  I love good cornbread, but don’t make it at home because it is so bad for you.  The bbq sauces didn’t rock my world, either, but I often find that I don’t care for bbq places bbq sauce.  Probably a product of eating the over sugared version from the store for so many years.

I had a good friend over on Wednesday.  I was a bit hyper from it being my last night at my small branch and after a couple of gin/sage/grapefruit martinis I totally lost track of the conversation.  I keep thinking back on it and wondering what her response was to that question I asked her.  Did I ask her about that?  Where the heck was my brain?  Ah well, we are catching up again this week and I can just ask her all over again.  Stress tends to make me forget things.

Libraryland: I spent half the day yesterday at iYouth, a small conference put on by a student group at the iSchool at the University of Washington.  I shared my panel with a school librarian turned PhD student, who will be a regular at the branch I am transferring to next week.  She started an after school gaming club at the boys school she was head librarian at in New Orleans.  It sounds like an amazing success–sometimes getting kids into the library is what it is all about.  My part was about having a teen blog at your library.

My part went well and everyone asked really good questions.  I didn’t get nervous, even with several of my colleagues in the audience.  One of my coworkers was there and I called on her to help me with some of the questions, for a different perspective.  I attended her panel on zines and I was able to lend her a hand as well.  I have a small donation based zine collection at my bigger branch, which I will be leaving behind.  There are so many things I will be sad to leave.  In some ways, my new collection will be a challenge because of its size, but there really isn’t anything unique about it, and the need really isn’t there to make it so.

What am I watching/reading? I just finished up Torchwood season 2 and I have already seen the last season/mini series so I am done until Doctor Who shows up.  We watched Princess Mononoke last night and I was surprised by the stars in the cast–Mini Driver, Gillian Anderson, Claire Danes and Billy Bob Thornton?  I hadn’t seen it in years.  We also watched I Love You, Man which was ok, but in great need of a final edit.  I am finishing up Columbine (due in 3 days!) and have two audio books that I am looking forward to: Marcelo in the Real World (up for all kinds of awards) and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters (by the same publisher as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies).  The first is on CD and the second is an audio download from the library that I put on my iPod shuffle that has been pretty much been taken over for that purpose.  I love that service.

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at my smaller branch…

One of my favorite co-workers called in sick :(

Got sworn at for asking a guy to turn down his headphones.  Of course the rest of us should be inconvenienced so that you can continue to ruin your hearing.  How silly of me.

Was told that I could just print a rental agreement off the internet by a guy that doesn’t know how to use a computer.  Sure, if you want to pay for it.  Let’s try this book instead.

Had to ask a woman to stop yelling at her children in the library.  We are just too small for that sort of thing (there was no talking, only yelling).

Had my favorite barista come and say goodbye to me and give me a hug.  Now that’s service :)

Had a scone and a pie from favorite coffee place–a double short non-fat latte with a sugar in the raw too.  And it was all yummy.

Helped many people print from the computers.

Was given a book recommendation by a regular patron.

Otherwise had an uneventful day.  Hoorah!

Not my teenager…

For anyone who didn’t read my old blog: I am a mentor in the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration.  I was matched with a 16 year old girl who was in juvy for fighting, but also had a history of drugs and prostitution.  She has very little family and she was pregnant.  I went out and visited her at least once a month and called every week to check in with her.  We started out with a pretty good relationship, although a little more distant than I would like.  Just before she had her baby, she was placed in foster care in a rural town.  She had a beautiful boy, was going to school and had a stable, if boring, home life.  Several months later she took her child to a friends house and didn’t return.  As a ward of the state, she was a runaway.

She got picked up a few weeks later and her son was put into foster care.  Mentee (as I will call her) ran away again, but turned herself in several times, each time saying she was ready to turn a new leaf.  This happened again a couple of weeks ago.  I got to visit with her just before going on vacation and everything seemed to be going well.  She got transfered from a transitional housing unit to a temporary group home and was waiting for visitation with her son.  The visitation kept getting pushed back because the foster parent was away or the baby was sick.  Then Mentee got in a white van a few days ago and has purportedly said she will not return.  She turns 18 this summer and the state will have washed its hands of her.  Her son will go into more permanent housing, but I still can’t figure out if that means a longer term foster care placement or adoption.  I hope for the latter.

I admit that this plays with me a bit.  In the grand scheme of things, I am not important in this.  BUT  It hurts that I can’t visit the baby and make sure he is ok.  I wish Mentee would talk to me when she is on the streets, but she never answers and when she calls me, she hangs up as soon as I answer.  Some of this makes me want to be a foster parent and other times it makes me want to stay as far away from it as possible.  Maybe when I am older.

What am I watching? Torchwood!  We are on Season 2 now and I will be sad when it is over.  Anyone who likes Buffy, Angel or Firefly would like it, I think.  It has inspired me to try Doctor Who again, but I think I will go with the newest incarnation.

This week has been great, but it was seriously killing me.

My internet class went well, even if there were only 3 people there.  They loved that I stopped and asked if they were following ok and that I answered their questions.  Too much time with the grandkids whipping through the tutorial?  Maybe.

The comics program was also a hit.  85 people showed up!  Too many, actually.  And it was a little too long.  Everyone loved the workshop and the contest but 3.5 hours was pushing it and many of the attendee’s didn’t stay for the contest.  We still had a good time and I had a wonderful volunteer show up from Central.  I had no idea she was coming, so it was like a gift from the gods.  She helped steer people to seats, talked to the kids and took pictures.  If she hadn’t been there, my feet would have hurt even worse than they did.  And they did, let me tell you.

Later that night we went to a librarian meet up where the choices were rollerskating and bowling.  I had to go with the bowling after the marathon on my feet earlier.  Even that was pushing it and I only bowled one round.  My Mister had dislocated a finger a while back, so he just watched, but the Offspring got 2 rounds in before we lost the lane to disco bowling, or whatever they call it these days.  They turned down the lights, turned on the strobe and started pumping the beats.  It was wild.  Offspring would have loved to stay (there were lots of cute girls there), but I needed to get to bed.  Old lady, that’s me.

I have been very happy to have a couple of days off, to sleep late and rejuvenate.  I think I am ready to go back and face the mound of work I have to do before I move branches.  I had a crash and burn in communication before I left.  It gave me a bad taste and made me feel like my fellow librarians might not be helping out as much as we hoped in our new regional plan.  It isn’t the bad communicating (on my part) that led to this, just that no one else is commenting on the stuff that is really important.  Ohm….I will let my frustration slide by…ohm….I will not let this bother me….it will go away if I give it a few days….  …  ..

What am I reading? Well, still Columbine, which is super interesting.  I find myself feeling guilty reading about other’s pain and enjoying finding out what happened.  I keep expecting some huge surprise, but I don’t suppose there can be one.  I’ll let you know.

To tide you over, I will tell you what I’ve been watching.  American Son was better than I expected–the story of a marine on leave for 96 hours just before he ships out to Iraq.  Really good.  (500) Days of Summer, also very good.  Tom falls in love with Summer instantly, and she really likes him… as a friend…  Trona was weird, but totally worth watching.  It reminded me of Never Cry Wolf, but without the wolves.  Man figures out he is unhappy and decides to f*** off instead of continuing in his doomed path.  Remember, this movie is “less about plot than it is about feeling.”

Another mega post, so if you don’t want to hear about my vacation, skip down to Libraryland.

The trip was wonderful, refreshing and way too quick.  Wine tasting was so much fun.  We started out at Borra Vineyards and had a tour of the winery before anyone else got there.  We all asked a lot of questions and kept Marcus, the vintner, on his toes.  We got two bottles there–one of the Field Blend and a 2006 syrah that was very yummy.

We had lunch at Michael David–I finally tried Pazole, which I keep hearing about–and bought 2 bottles of 2007 Sin Zin and a nice sparkling wine that was on special and is no longer available.

Our third stop got derailed by a party that didn’t allow us to get to the front of the tasting line, so we moved on to a strange winery called Saint Jorge.  They barely seemed open when we came up, but rushed to meet us at the tasting room.  They served some nice breads and cheeses with the wine and they had spanish varietals, which I tend to like.  It was overall a good experience and their next verdelho is going to be really good.  The one we tasted first and bought was decent, but the raw wine he brought us from the casks was beautiful, crisp and flavorful.  That one won’t be bottled until later this year, though.  We also got the tempranillo (I was feeling nostalgia for Crave), but when our friends tried to buy some too, suddenly they were out.  That is what made the experience so strange.

Later that night we went to a crab feed for Project Ride.  We had a great time, ate a lot of crab and shrimp and bid on the silent auction which was more of a raffle.  I didn’t care if I won anything, I was just happy to donate to such a fun organization that does so much good.  And the company was good too :)  The next day we drove to Nevada but we had to hurry home after one night because of some huge winter storms in California the last few days.  We still ran into two snow storms, one of which set us back several hours.  At least we got to see M&T’s new house, eat dinner with family and meet their cute doggy, which made me glad we made it to Nevada.

Libraryland: Today was back at the grind and all 89 new emails were checked and either dealt with, deleted or added to my task list.  I got about half way through weeding the manga at my smaller branch.  I hate weeding manga and comics because they are so prolific and popular that weeding for circulation and condition aren’t enough. I practically have to make up reasons to get rid of something.  I also started my “what’s up” for that branch for their new librarian.  Mostly just deciphered our shelving practices for her so far.  One of the emails I dealt with today was setting up meetings with my counterparts, past and future.

The PLA conference is coming up quick.  I added my pre-conference registration on last night so now I have to be there by Tuesday.  The question is whether to stay until Saturday so that I can hit Portland’s awesome Saturday Market.  The conflict is that it is my weekend with my offspring and I hate to put it off.  Maybe I can get my Mister to grab him and bring him to Portland?  Hmm.  Somehow I doubt the transportation would work out.  I have to be in Portland on Friday until around 6pm though and all that driving… sigh.

This week I have a beginning internet class to teach and a comics program.  Both should be fun and I refuse to think about being nervous in front of all those people.  They will be good practice for being a presenter at the iYouth conference at the end of the month. *gulp*

What am I reading? Still Columbine.  I am just being slow.  I did listen to Bright Sided by Barbara Ehrenreich on audio in the car during our trip and really enjoyed hearing about how we should be more pessimistic in America.  I quite liked it and was able to relate it to several things in my life recently as well as events going on around me.

The Mister and I are in Bend Oregon today, and let me tell you, Old St. Francis School is the place to stay.  There are complimentary movies, a soaking pool, bathrobes and fresh ground coffee in your your room.  I wish I could stay here for a week.  We got into town yesterday evening around 4:15 and walked to the Deschutes Brewery to taste some new beers (with a slight detour when we went to their pub on accident).  The tasting room closes at 5, so we barely made it; glad we did though.  It was hard to get the cute girls behind the counter to help us, but when they did, we tried the new Hop Henge and the Abyss porter.  The Hop Henge was pretty yummy but was a bit hoppy (duh…).  The Abyss was too strong for me–sweet with molasses and licorice flavors, 11% alcohol.

In the small theater on the hotel grounds, we saw Pirate Radio–really well done movie about a pirate radio station operated from a boat off the coast of England.  Definitely worth a look-see.  The theater had couches to sit on and they honored the McMenamins happy hour. We had dinner in the McMenamins pub followed by a glass of their 13 year old brandy and bread pudding with whiskey sauce.  After digesting a bit, we went to the soaking room which is a rather large tiled room with mosaics of monks on the walls, statues of lions and fish spouting water and lit by lights in the pool and dim sconces shaped like suns.  The water was just the right temperature and it was so nice to sit and soak for half an hour or so.

Tonight we drive to the Sacramento area and tomorrow is wine tasting and a crab feed.  Don’t worry, we have a driver for the wine tasting :)

Talking about work issues is still sure to make my eyelid twitch–something that started over the holiday vacation and is still annoying me as of yesterday.  So, I won’t be talking about work during my vacation.  I want to feel as far away from it as I can for the next few days.

What am I reading? Columbine by Dave Cullen.  So far it is really interesting to see the shooters as kids, to think of them as teenagers with all the problems and joys that go along with that.  I think that we forget that they were people and not just monsters.  The boys were seniors in high school with bright futures available to them.  Why did they throw it all away, knowing or at least planning, that they would die in a ball of fury, taking classmates and teachers with them and leaving their mark on the nation for decades?

Hold Still was wonderful all the way through.  Both characters and setting were expertly crafted and the story held me to the very end.  It is a beautiful book and now, thanks to a spilled cup of coffee, one that I own ;)

Lots of stuff coming up for life and for work.  The Mister and I are taking another vacation next week and this time we are actually going somewhere.  We are driving to California to do some wine tasting and visit friends around San Francisco.  Other fun things will be done like visiting breweries, going skiing (which I also got to do today!) and seeing my sister’s new house.

But before we do that, I have to host 4 school visits with catalog and database instruction with 7th and 8th grade language arts classes.  I am actually looking forward to this–kids are on their best behavior when they come with their teacher, and I know a lot of the students this year since they have been coming into the library to use the computers and play Magic, the Gathering.  I had no idea anyone played that anymore!  I have been slowly cultivating a relationship with these students since September, whenever I actually work at the branch.  I am really sad there won’t be a teen librarian there to continue it, but I am glad that the staff I leave behind will be on the right page.

Well, I don’t want to blather on like I did last time, so I won’t tell you about the Union meeting I went to.  Maybe later, maybe not.  (and I am tired and listing to one side from skiing)

What am I reading? Hold Still by Nina La Cour.  I finished Leviathan on Friday night and stayed up a bit too late doing so.  Look here for a cool book trailer and let’s just say that I loved it.  Hold Still is quite good so far and does a great job of capturing how a teen might deal with the suicide death of someone close to her.

Today was day 2 back in libraryland.  Day 1 started with the booktalking webinar.  I did well until I got to the actual booktalking portion.  I always get nervous the first time I do book talks at the schools, but by the second time I am a pro.  This time I didn’t have to see the faces looking back at me, but in a way I think that was worse.  It was probably good to let those listening know that I still get nervous, so they shouldn’t feel bad if they do, too.

Next I had a four hour meeting where we mostly discussed programming for the coming year and how we will now be working together as a region to make sure we are covering teen services for our library branches.  There are two branches that do not have teen services librarians and another that is a maybe, depending on how they hire for the position that will open up there.  I currently work at one of those branches and I had a teacher come in today to ask about bringing his students in to work on a project for his class.  I have developed a relationship with this teacher, his school and the librarian there.  I worry about what will happen when I am not at that branch anymore.  But then, I know that because I care what happens, I will make sure that they continue to receive good service from us.  I hope that our new model will allow me time for outreach.  According to what we heard at the meeting yesterday, that is what management hopes for as well.

I made it through all my email yesterday.  There were 125 of them, which isn’t as bad as usual for a 2 week vacation.  I can thank our new intranet for that, because many things that used to be sent out as emails are just being posted and saved there.  In many ways our system is getting more organized and efficient, which seriously helps me do so as well.

Tonight I went to a YALSA happy hour and saw some acquaintances and my friend Jackie, who presented at the webinar with me.  She inspires me to want to take a speed reading class, because she reads several books a week, where I am lucky to get through 1 or 2.  I worry that the enjoyment might go out of it if I do cheapen my relationship with the written word by unnaturally speeding my ability.  I don’t really have time to learn anyway, because I am too busy reading and crocheting and watching Torchwood.  Anyhow, the happy hour was fun.  I forget that I love to geek out about libraries and books because things at work are kind of stressed right now for everyone.

What am I reading? Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld.  I have been saving this as a treat–supposedly over my vacation–but had to pre-empt it to read Very LeFreak for work.  Wasn’t I sad when I got there yesterday and found out we weren’t presenting our books? Yes, I was.  Because Leviathan is just as exciting and fun and interesting as I thought it was going to be.  It is steampunk and darwinist and sort of, not really, princes being chased across the country side by armies that want to eliminate his possible claim to the throne and girls pretending to be boys so that they can fly in the big living balloons that are zeppelins*.  I wish I could have just stayed in bed for a day and read it straight through.  Instead, I have to pick at it in the evenings before bed and on breaks from work.

*I am so excited I am speaking in run ons.  Bad English major!

Yesterday I spend the day in my comfy clothes and didn’t leave the house after arriving home from the airport.  I worked on my presentation for tomorrow (practice today!  Yikes!).  This is probably why we were given so much group work in college, so that we could do these things and make them coherent even if we are spread all over the state.  So I worked on my slides, and realized that my two fellow presenters had put notes on them… about 2 weeks ago.  Oops.  So I added mine and responded to their points.  Thank goodness for Google Docs because I was able to just email them so they could take a look at my additions.

To distract myself from the work I should have been doing (namely my book talks) I helped my Google group (I sound like an ad for google, don’t I?) put together a list of questions for our union.  There is an e-board meeting this Friday and we plan to raise a lot of issues.  Funny how fast things can change when just yesterday I mentioned we weren’t really getting anything accomplished.

When I first heard the word “e-board” , I assumed that meant they meant they met virtually.  Turns out it means “executive board”. Heh, silly me.  So they meet in person and members are welcome to come.

Tomorrow is my first day back to work after a 2 week vacation, so I will be buried alive in email and books that need to be processed.  I will try to update you on that fun on Wednesday, unless there is some breaking news that I just have to let out.

What am I reading? I finally finished Very LaFreak by Rachel Cohn.  I just sat down last night and read the over half that I had left.  I have mixed feelings about this book.  I don’t believe that there is such a thing as “technology addiction” which is a main premise, but maybe that is because I have this addiction and am in the denial stage (ha!).  She goes to rehab after trying to kill one of her friends for damaging something her dead mother gave her.  The item was a piece of technology, but I felt that the sentimental value was dismissed.  Author knows best?  Some of the other rehabbers did such cheesy things to get in,  credibility was lost (one boy addicted to an underwater MMORPG reportedly tried to jump off a bridge to continue the game in the river below–and forgot that he didn’t know how to swim…).  There was also a lot of product and store name dropping, although the press wasn’t always good so they weren’t advertising like some authors have done. It was still distracting.  I liked the writing though, and I liked the main story of Very finding herself, working out her issues with the past, realizing who really cared about her and who she really cared about.  But then the book let me down again when the ending seemed too easy and I was left with a sour taste at 1:30am when I finished the book.

I heard a rumor that this was actually Rachel Cohn’s first attempt at a novel and that it was rejected originally.  I did enjoy the book, but I am not sure who I would sell it to.  Maybe teens on the same road, or those who like a juicy story and watching others self destruct.

Put the last of the visiting family on a plane today.  Now I will have some more time to work on my booktalks for the First Tuesday webinar.  That is happening this Tuesday morning at 10am and is a live broadcast.  Here’s hoping nothing goes wrong–it is really only the second time I have been recorded for longevity.  The first time was at the ALA conference in 2008 when I talked about zines for YALSA.  That one wasn’t practiced at all though.  It is good practice for the iYouth conference at the iSchool that I am participating in later in the month (talking about teens, technology and blogs).

A good internet friend of mine had an album release today over on his band blog.  They are Starfish Stories: The Band and they release their music under a creative commons license, which allows you to use their music in, say, a YouTube video and all you have to do is attribute the music to them in the way they have asked.  I got a chance to preview the release and was quite impressed.  It isn’t going to be a top 40 success, but I don’t think it was meant to be that anyway.  This music has a lot of creative uses and is very well executed.  I especially liked “Goodnight Not Goodbye v2.2”, which I believe is the only one with lyrics.  You can download these songs by going to the blog link above–there is a place to donate if you like the music, but you should feel free to listen first.

In Libraryland: More information is coming out, although it is hard to tell what is official (and therefor blogable).  There is a lot of talk about writing letters to the union and admin, but nothing is happening yet that is visible to me.  There might be some behind the scenes work going on, though.  I am not unhappy with my post, so it is hard to get riled up about things, but I do understand other’s consternation over changes made, some supposedly based on “skills and abilities”, that have taken people out of their specialty.  Others are happy for the chance to do something different and stirring the pot more could mess up their opportunity for that experience.

What am I reading? Still LaFreak…I am going very slowly right now.  We will leave it at that.  I hope I finish it in time for the work meeting on Tuesday.  I should have more time to read now that I am not staying up late visiting with family.