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The Mister has made a new cage for my snake, Cleo.  It is about twice as big as her old habitat, which was 55 gallons.  We need to get her a good sturdy branch to climb on, because she can just barely hold herself up long enough to get to the top, then she falls back into the bottom.  One of her favorite things to do is climb towards the top and look out at everything.

That’s my girl looking at me now.

Cleo came to live with me about 6 years ago when her original owner went abroad and didn’t come back.  I worked at Crave then, which was located in the Capitol Hill Arts Center (affectionately known as CHAC) and the main office for the building was pet sitting her.  I saw her at some point when I was up there, gave her a pet and it evidently caught the eye of the staff there that I was not afraid of slithery reptiles.  A couple of months later I was asked if I would take her in when it became apparent that her owner was not returning.

I never thought I would be a reptile owner.  I have always found it a little mean to keep that kind of pet.  Especially one like Cleo who is small enough that you can’t let her roam the house.  She would get lost in a warm spot and you wouldn’t find her again for a long time.  Her head is small and so is her brain; experts say they have very little memory.  Cleo has never had live food and she is not surprised that her food flies and sometimes is heralded by an earthquake.  I buy frozen mice and thaw them, hold them by the tail to let her grab them and often let her know it is eating time by shaking her log tunnel.  I don’t know that she would do well in “the wild”.

She eats once a week and her eating schedule can really affect her mood.  You don’t want to hold a hungry snake, as they are a bit cranky.  They also don’t like to be held while they are digesting.  That leaves a couple of days a week to hold her, and I probably end up lining that up once a month or so.  She is fine being held, but she wants to go look at everything–she is very curious–and moves around a lot.  I am in constant motion to control her constant motion.

She has bitten me once.  It was an accident.  I had been holding her for a while and she had mostly settled down around my shoulders.  I was talking to the Mister and started gesturing with my hands.  A little too fast I guess because the next thing I know her teeth are around one the side of my index finger.  She looked as surprised as a snake can look, and I probably did too.  I used my other hand and held her behind the head and pushed her forward and off my finger–snake teeth angle backward.  It didn’t really hurt and was more like a sandpaper burn, but I cleaned it really well and put a band aid on it.  She wasn’t trying to eat me–snakes are good at judging what will fit in their body–I probably just surprised her.

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Libraryland is all about budget cuts right now.  I was off yesterday, but there was a timeline posted that included the idea that layoffs would be happening, but not for a bit.  It also doesn’t sound like actual library staff will be laid off.  Any layoffs are bad but layoffs you know are the worst.  I am trying not to worry about it until we know more.  But I will be at the staff meeting next month when the Mayor is there.  Evidently he doesn’t understand the importance of the library to our community.

What am I reading? It has been a prolific week. The River by Mary Jane Beauford started out a bit weak but grew on me.  There were some weird descriptions in the first few chapters, almost as if she was trying to include some SAT words or clever twists of phrase, but they fell flat.  Veronica made a hard move with her family from Portland to rural Oregon.  The two things that make living in the middle of nowhere are running and Karen, a little girl who lives along her running route.  One day the river takes Karen away and while Veronica is trying to deal with that grief, she finds that there is more than the river to blame.

13 Treasures by Michelle Harrison was quite good, and a rival for The Various by Steve Augarde (I thought this was much better, actually).  Tanya has a second sight that allows her to see fairies.  After one too many mischievous encounters, her mother packs her off to her grandmother’s home in the country.  Tanya has never felt welcome there and has a tangled relationship with the grounds keeper and his son, Fabian as well.  A mystery begins to unfold and Tanya and Fabian try to solve it, forcing them to trust each other and dangerously delve into the fairy realm.

Right now I am enjoying both Readers’ Advisory: an Unshelved Collection by Gene Ambaum and Bill Barnes and This Book Is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All by Marilyn Johnson.  So yes, I am completely geeking out on library-based literature.

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I should have been a good girl and gone to bed an hour ago.  But that is so hard!  I love staying up late, but I hate getting up…well, early is relative…

Today was a day off and mostly I got some chores done and ran a few errands, but then I went out to have dinner on the town with my lovely lady co-workers from the past.  We went to Odd Fellows Cafe and I had mac n cheese and french fries.  The place was ok, but I felt both the food and the service could be better.  Luckily the company was awesome.  We stopped in at the new Elliot Bay Books after dinner and lots of chatting–it is beautiful and keeps the charm of the Pioneer Square store.  We ran into a library school friend that I don’t think I have seen since library school.  She works a few blocks away and came to see the store on her break.  After that little reunion, we decided to walk a couple extra blocks to try out Old School Frozen Custard on Pike, rather than going to Molly Moons that was just around the corner.  It was a good experience; the custard is smooth and creamy and the topping options were decadent.  (We love Molly Moons too, but go to the one in Wallingford all the time, so we tried something new.)

In my last few posts, I think I managed to gloss right over learning about our new budget cuts. We have to cut $1.5 million in the library system’s budget and our suggestions have to be in by the end of the month.  I don’t see anything in the news to link to (although this blog post has a few details), but I am sure there will be something after cuts are finalized.  We will likely have a second furlough and possibly some materials cuts, but there will be bigger repercussions for next year because it isn’t likely to get any better before 2012.  Bigger as in lay offs and hours reductions.  Patrons won’t like the second one, or the materials cuts, for that matter.  This they will notice–as they have the hours changes in the last few months.  Some have also noticed that faces have changed in various places.  I often get asked if I am new.

I am happy that the mayor is asking for our ideas and this doesn’t seem to be the secretive process it was last year.  Our ideas can be posted anonymously, or we can give our contact info in case someone wants to ask more questions.  We can submit our ideas to the library or to the Mayor’s office, depending on how we feel about our current administration.  I hope this openness continues and that our input receives the respect it deserves.

What am I reading? Finished I Rode a Horse of Milk White Jade and I take back my “it could be any” comment.  The last few chapters were wonderful and set in the Khan’s palace in China.  There were many details about life there and the story became more uplifting.

I also started and finished Primavera by Mary Jane Beaufrand.  I met the author at PLA and she signed Primavera and The River to me.  Her book is a interesting depiction of the Pazzi family’s betrayal of the Medici family in Florence where the youngest daughter of the Pazzi family, Flora, thwarted a plot to assassinate Guiliano and Lorenzo Medici, but only Lorenzo escaped.  The Pazzi family was then persecuted and Flora was forced to hide.

I was right, last week was great and this week is going to be too.  Work is going well.  We have a small but robust start to our computer classes, my volunteers are so efficient I have to find more things for them to do and tomorrow I have a school visit with 2 fellow teen services librarians.  This morning I helped interview for my friend‘s position.  He got a temp job at another branch as a librarian, so we need someone who can do his job for a few months (because nobody can really fill his shoes…).  Participating on the interview team showed me how awful I looked when I was interviewing.  I was always terribly nervous and couldn’t put two thoughts together to save my life.  There was only a little of that with these two, but they still reminded me of my trembling self and I cringed a bit.  I’ve had a few interviews in the last year or two that have gone much better, but I think it really helped that I was miserably sick when I interviewed for the first temp position I got as a librarian.

I worked all weekend but still got out to (the same) friend’s housewarming party.  I really just went to see his table, which he made.  I am always in awe of people who can make useful things that are also pleasant looking.  I also went so I could spill lemonade on his wife’s shoes.  Because that is what you do at a housewarming party, sort of like a christening.  Would anyone else like me to provide this service?  It is free as long as you provide the lemonade.  Oh, and there were lot’s of good people there that I enjoy hanging out with.  That might also have been a motivation.

Wednesday I get to see my WAL peeps.  I miss them all so much.  Some force is trying to keep us apart–we all work different schedules and far across town now.  I am really looking forward to seeing them, I can barely wait (I might even bring my own lemonade … you know, for funsies).

What am I reading? I finished Incarceron.  It was decent, but not phenomenal.  It is a good book to give a teen who has liked Maze Runner or Hunger Games and I have a feeling there will be at least a second book if not a series.

I just started I Rode a Horse of Milk White Jade by Diane Lee Wilson and it is the most uncorrected proof I have ever read.  I think they rushed it to get it out at PLA.  It will be a nice addition to the historical fiction category, set in the 1200’s during Kublai Kahn’s rule, the story follows the adventures of a young girl who was maimed by a horse in infancy and found her fate entwined with theirs.  The story is not that different from a native american one (I feel like you could substitute a few words, names and landmarks and it wouldn’t be distinguishable), but does include vocabulary and cultural references from Mongol history.

So, last week sucked (Stranger article, budget cuts).  This week is going to rock.  A friend got a foot in the door to a librarian position and we went out last night to celebrate his good fortune.  I rode my bike with another friend from North Seattle to Capitol Hill to do so, then home, which made for a lot of riding yesterday.  I was really tired this morning and didn’t make the run around Greenlake or hot yoga.  I don’t really like hot anything though, so the second thing doesn’t bother me much.  I finally got up at 11.  I know it is Wednesday, but this is my weekend and I am allowed to sleep in, darned it all.

It seems I am getting a hard edge back to my personality.  I had quite a bit of sarcasm built into me as a teen and young adult, but I slowly lost it because it caused me to make the wrong people angry.  I think I have gained the maturity that can make sarcasm and subtle criticism an asset rather than a liability.  I hardly noticed doing it, but my friend pointed out to me that I razzed another coworker that tends to elongate meetings with the excessive flapping of his gums.  So “yay” for the forces of good.

Time feels very short before June, when the Mister and I will be moving him to the land of desert and 5 card stud.  Every weekend seems to have an event.  3 of my siblings are graduating in May and there are something like 6 birthdays, maybe more.  Another friend is getting married and I won’t be able to go.  May is always busy, but this year takes the cake.

What am I reading? I finished The Passage!  It was wonderful!  There was government conspiracy, a virus unleashed, superhuman creatures that liked to drink blood, a sweet little girl who lived over a hundred years and is going to save the world.

I am going to start Incarceron by Catherine Fisher today and I am still listening to the third Jackie Faber book by LA Meyer.  More about those later.

Last night I became the treasurer for our system’s union.   I don’t know what duties the position entails yet, although my predecessor’s speech gave me some idea of what is to be expected.  I am looking forward to finding out more, and to representing my coworkers.  My speech was short and sweet, detailing some of my experience and my enthusiasm.  I was a bit light headed and shaky afterwards, but I was good in the moment.

I am not always good at knowing my own mind about policies and situations when they are still hot.  I have to think about things before I can speak, and when I do rush into a statement, I usually regret it or wish I had said more or less.  My biggest goal in being a part of the Union is to get more in touch with my opinions (weird statement–know my mind better?) and get better at thinking on my feet.  Ok, that is my second biggest goal, because first is being the representative that my coworkers need and want, being their voice.

Um, end public service message.  Yes, I realize what I sound like.

What am I reading? Still The Passage, but also now listening to Under the Jolly Roger: Being an Account of the Further Nautical Adventures of Jackie Faber by LA Meyer.  Still love this story as Jackie returns to England from more adventures at Sea aboard a whaling ship.  Quite a lovely diversion.

And just when I think that things are going  well and that I am doing useful work,  I get a reminder that our City Librarian thinks I am less useful than Google.  I know she would be appalled that her words were used this way, but the fact that she said them at all is just awful.  And the article is true, there is not anything in there I would disagree with, except the part that says that the folks overseeing the community conversations were librarians.  While they might hold the degree, many of them have not worked with the public for many years and some never in the library world.  They do not represent me or my position.

This article just made me sad.  Sad for our future.  Librarians are not only the people that find you that dvd you were looking for, we are the ones that protect your right to privacy, make sure you have access to information and provide a gateway to technology for those who haven’t had the exposure.  This article makes it clear that librarians are slowly being specialized, dumbed down and minimized until someday people will say “what is a librarian?”  We have already lost several library positions to clerical positions that do our “basic” duties, and all of the new hires into that position have librarian degrees.

I love my job and will continue to do it cheerfully and to the best of my ability.  I was starting to feel warm and cozy here again, reluctant to ever leave because I feel that I have a bright future in my system.  This article reminds me that I am just a number to be moved or eliminated and while I might get warm fuzzies from above occasionally, this is the bottom line.

Nothing like a jolt of reality to sharpen the mind.

I have really loved my free time lately.  When I am not at work, I am running at Greenlake with a friend, reading or spending time with friends and family.  I know that isn’t mind blowing, but in recent times I have gotten into a rut where too much time is spent in front of the computer, surfing the internet, reading blogs and checking facebook.  It is amazing how much time you can spend doing these things and before you know it, you are up an hour past bedtime or it is time to catch the bus.

Don’t get me wrong, I still spend time on the computer but I have definitely changed my priorities.  I make plans with friends to make sure I get ready and leave the house.  My friends don’t mind that I am using them–they are incentive rather than excuses anyway, and it means I get to see them more.  I tried being motivated on my own on Monday, but got caught up in making my own ringtone using Audacity (tutorial here).  I barely caught my bus to work.

So less internet at home.  And less at work too, actually.  I used to do a lot of professional reading (cough) at work on the net in my down time, but now I don’t have any down time–and if I do, then I should really be checking my task list because there is definitely something I should be doing.  I like being busy, but I worry about missing or forgetting something (see previous post).

Today is the first day of computer classes.  It should be winding down about now, actually.  I hope that everything is going smoothly.  I had my volunteers help me set up the room and computers yesterday and aside from needing some more power strips and an extension cord, it was perfect.  Got my fingers crossed.

Still Reading: The Passage.  Have I mentioned it is over 700 pages?  Probably a few times.  I am about halfway done, still loving it.  It is definitely futuristic, rather than alternative universe.  The last recorded date I have seen is 2016, but know that is at least 80 years in the past at the point where I am reading.  Amy (cute little girl that cannot die)  is back and there is a main character named Peter who met her in an abandoned mall.  I am looking forward to getting to know them both better.

Things have definitely been easier this week.  I have been making “to do” lists and checking off each item.  When I get a little stressed my short term memory goes right out the window.  That doesn’t really help with stress.  So yes, handwritten lists with little check boxes and things added right when I think of them.  I was already doing that with my email–setting the task option for a reasonable amount of time, then going through each one when I had a little down time.

I have a sister getting married this fall and yesterday we bridesmaids had brunch at her place, where we picked fabric and took measurements.  I had recently sent my Mister the dates so he could see about getting that weekend off in his new hellishly hot city.  Somebody said “so, it is the 18th right?” and sis said “yeah, the 18th” and I went “awe shit…” with a blank look where I knew that I had told the Mister it was the 24th.  I had seen this on one of my calendars and sent it on to him.  Sis said “you’re f-ing with me, right?”  And I said “probably?”  And yes I was.  When the text message I sent myself at that OS moment reminded me to check, I could see on the vacation calendar that I had asked for the right days off, so the only thing I had to do was send the correct dates to the Mister.  Whew, see what a piece of work I am lately?  (I had to send myself a text message…)

I also had no idea it was Easter yesterday until patrons started calling to see if we would be open.  And yes we were.  They continued calling until 20 minutes before closing yesterday.  It was my weekend to work and I guess it didn’t matter, me being all non-religious and my kid being all teenagery.  He still ended up with a bunch of candy, which is pretty silly since he is diabetic.  You would think that the fear of needles would make him cut back, but he seems to have gotten used to them.  One of the many side effects of type 1 diabetes.

What am I reading? Still The Passage, which is long and wondrous.  Time has passed and things are more Forest of Hands and Teeth now.  I have a feeling that the sweet little girl is going to make an appearance soon, but that somehow she will still be sweet after a hundred years.  So yes, it is still awesome, with none of the dead spots that a 750 page book (cough/twilight) usually has–final judgement reserved for when I finish.

Last night the Mister and I watched Men Who Stare at Goats and Extract.  Not the best movies in the world, but not the worst.  Extract was Office Space-esc, but not as funny or as insightful.

I hinted that I have been a little whiney lately, a little stressed, maybe a little annoying?  I have annoyed myself, but I can’t speak for others and they have been nice enough not to say.

Most of this has stemmed from the changes that happened a couple of months ago.  I would still be my happy self at my old branches.  I wouldn’t feel as challenged though, or quite as elemental in important goings ons.  In many ways the changes were good for me and are likely leading me in promising directions.

I was stressed and irritated because of some extra work was given to me because someone else didn’t want to do it.  The extra work is really a good opportunity.  The problem is that it makes it so I don’t have time to do programming.  I have taken positive steps and made my teen volunteers my project and things are really working out great with them.

The session at PLA I was talking about in my last post, Mourning the Loss, helped me deal with this.  I was reminded of the stages of grieving that you go through when you experience a major change.  I was definitely grieving and I was in the anger stage.  I was venting to people and it wasn’t helping–it actually made me feel worse.  Hearing this in the session helped me identify it and to let it go.  Just like that, I decided I was done railing against that which I cannot change.  It is working so far.

They also talked about a new book that I put on hold immediately.  It is called Influencer: the Power to Change Anything.  It is more for administration and shows how to lead people through changes with minimal damage to their moral and thus to their work ethic.  There is some information there for individuals as well.

I plan to give it a read just as soon as I dig myself out of this pile of galley’s I was given at PLA.  Which brings us to:

What am I reading? The Passage by Justin Cronin.  Love it so far, even though I am still in the baby stages of the plot set up.  This book is over 700 pages long and thick as a paperback.  Mr. Cronin knows how to set up a character, even a minor one and the story has really sucked me in already.  Some day there will be vampires, but for now there is a special agent, a death row convict, a jailor/guard, a nun and a sweet little girl.  Too bad you have to wait until June 8, 2010 to read it…