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Sometimes I just can’t believe we are going forward with the teen advisory group at my branch.  I keep expecting to get a phone call where someone tells me they like my initiative, but this just isn’t the time.  However, on every step of the way I am getting support.  It feels a bit like a dream.

I had 8 teen girls and one younger boy (probably 1o or 11) come to my Cute Creatures program today, so I was able to plug the advisory group.  At least a couple of them looked interested and took flyers.  We had a lot of fun making felt guys.  I made a bad guy and he turned out pretty good despite my glue fiasco.  Fabric glue doesn’t work well on felt, and when it is black, it just makes a mess.  I still have black spots on my fingers.  Sewing the little pieces on worked much better, which I knew, but I tried it anyway.  None of us, aside from the boy, could do a french knot, either.  He showed us how he did it, but it still didn’t work for any of the rest of us.  He is the only one besides me that finished his guy, too.  He was amazing.  Everyone had a good time, though, sewing, eating snacks, listening to the radio.  It is close to what I want the advisory group to be, but with (teen) boys, too.

I am weeding comics and graphic novels and am about half way through the manga.  I realize that I can do a dusty shelf print out or even have the LAIV do this job, but since this is my first year at the branch and I don’t know the collection well yet, it is smart to hold each book in my hand, look it over, check the circs and the condition and decide if its time has come to meet the Friend’s booksale.  I also have a comics and graphic novels order to complete by next Friday, so it wouldn’t hurt to know what holes we have in our collection.  I actually like weeding, aside from the monotony (put a load of books on a cart, take them to the desk, in between patron questions scan each book to check for the last circulation date, look at the condition of the book, put the book either in the keep pile or the weed pile).  It gets a bit mind numbing if I do it for too long.

What am I reading? I am finishing up Dead Tossed Waves and the verdict is good book/annoying character.  The main character is stronger than she realizes and this gets a little irritating as time goes on as she is constantly wondering why people like her, what is wrong with her, etc. etc..  The story is pretty good though, and I would say very original if it weren’t for the fact that right now it is back tracking through some of the ground from Forest of Hands and Teeth.  I like that too though, as it reminds me what came before without actually spelling it out for me.  So there you go.

I have had more vacation this year than any I can remember.  I barely touch down in between and yet I have to be a grown up and make this job my own.  I came back from Chelan feeling ready to be creative with my teen advisory group plan and I feel like I hit it on the head.  I don’t know for sure, but I will certainly find out in September.

The garden keeps surprising me with its yield, especially since I have been so neglectful this year.  I had 2 nice cauliflower heads (well, out of 6 plants, not as good as I could have wished), my carrots are actually becoming carrots, despite my earlier fears, and I have had some nice strawberries and snap peas.

I am still riding several days a week, a little under 12 miles a day and I started to keep track of my eating.  Not to lose weight, but just to see what I am up to.  My caloric intake isn’t bad, but I sure do like the sugar and carbs, which are basically the same thing to the body.  I am going to try to shift my eating to more protein and veggies.  I eat a lot of fruit and bread (and cheese, and…) and it doesn’t help that we have a magnificent bakery just down the street from work.  PCC is a bit further away but I think I should make the effort and change my habits.

Yesterday evening I went to a book release birthday party for Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala and it was inspiring.  She is such an amazing person and her book is really beautiful and well written (the part I have read and heard so far).  I bought a copy last night–she and Secret Garden Books were donating proceeds to World Vision’s Hope for Sexually Exploited Girls–but my feet couldn’t wait in the HUGE line to get it signed.  I hope she will grant me the honor later.  Congratulations Holly!

What am I reading? Well…I know I said I was going to read Pump Six next, but then Dead Tossed Waves came in yesterday and I just couldn’t help myself.  I have heard both good and bad things about it, although I don’t remember distinctly what–it is better that way, then I can just form my own opinion.  I am only about 20 pages in, but I like the way Carrie Ryan sets up the atmosphere, setting and back story.  I am on my way.

However, I will be watching some dvds tonight so that I can get some crafty stuff done.  I will start with the IT Crowd.  I saw a couple of episodes of this back when I was in graduate school and thought it was totally hilarious.  But I was in graduate school and a little funny in the head then, so who knows.  I also have Crazy Heart and Invictus.  In the interest of going to work tomorrow, I probably won’t watch all 3, but I am hoping for two.  Any favorites?

I was back at work today and now I have 2 more days off.  Time to spend with the Offspring and to have dinner with some co-workers I no longer co-work with.  I think the Offspring and I will go see Karate Kid.  I heard the Last Airbender was quite disappointing, so I guess I can wait for dvd on that.  I need to get into the garden too, as I think the weeds have decided I’m not coming back and the whole plot is fair game.  I have had 2 nice heads of cauliflower, some snap peas and strawberries so far this year.  Oh, and some carrots, although I don’t think they like our soil.  I keep getting veins of dirt in them and they don’t grow very straight or long.  Onions are coming up and I need to plant something to replace the cauliflower.  I am thinking some cabbage.

We got back from Chelan about 3:30 yesterday and I am a nice red color.  I wore sunscreen, but the redness had already started in Las Vegas, then continued in Boston.  I don’t really tan, I just get red, then go back to pale and I don’t expect anything different this time.  Chelan was beautiful, but windy and I don’t think I got much sleep.  We went out on the boat on Sunday.  I rode on the skidoo with my sister and brother and it was good wild fun.  The ride back to the dock was the worst, as the wind had come up and there was no gentle way back in.  I thought my uncle was trying to kill us on part of the ride, but it turns out there was no other choice.

I came back to work this morning to a reference meeting of 3.  Me, who was totally unprepared, our adult librarian, who was over and mis-prepared, and our manager who was able to reign us both in.  The children’s librarian was sick and I am not sure if our LAIV was scheduled, but most of the conversation was about him, so it seems like he would have been a good addition.  An LAIV is a library associate level 4, who has the “basic” job description that matches that of a librarian, but doesn’t have to have a master’s and is paid a bit less (see much less).  His duties have to stay “basic” so that we librarians don’t get our panties in a bunch (for good reason), but it is hard to find him good, meaningful work and still have it be “basic”.  And the fact that he does have the master’s makes it that much harder.

Oh, and the start to my day was trying to ride my bike, going back in the house about 4 times for things I forgot, then still forgetting my gloves.  I was running late, so I decided to take the bus that happened to be behind me up the hill to work.  I got on the bus after putting the bike on and after a couple of blocks, I watched my new bike computer fall off the handlebars (HOW does that happen??!).  I decide to get off the bus and go look for whatever mangled bit of plastic and wires was left of it.  So, I take the bike off and push the holder up and what falls out of the holder?  The bike computer.  I look at the bus driver with wide questioning eyes, and she looks back at me with a hard gaze.  I say “fine” push my bike up on the curb, then wait several minutes for traffic to pass by so I can cross the street. At least my computer wasn’t mangled, AND I did manage to make it to work on time.  I was just a bit grumpy.

What am I reading? Still Mindspring and I like it a lot.  I wish I had more time to sit and read it, instead of the choppy blocks I have had recently.  Hethor was a clockmaker’s apprentice in a world that turns on gears.  Literally.  One night he is visited by an angel and given a quest to find a key and save the world.  In the morning he is unceremoniously dumped on his ass by the ungrateful, spoiled sons of his trade master and his journey begins.  So far there have been ignorant Viceroys, awful dungeons, airships and winged savages.  I am still only half way done.

I plan to read the next book, Escapement, but I just got in Pump Six and Other Stories and I might have to give that a read first.

Ahhh, leaving tomorrow for camping.  I am going to drive slowly along highway 2 and just breath.

Speaking of breathing, I am feeling like a hypochondriac.  I had some allergies, as I do every year (sore throat, congestion).  Did some work with the netti pot and they got better.  However, I still have a cough occasionally, my back/ribs ache, I am more tired than I should be and it reminds me of when my dad had pneumonia last year but didn’t know it until he went to the doctor.  I get little flash fevers and headaches too, but I am not sure… Ah well.  If I still have these things when I get back from soaking in the eastern Washington sun, then I will make an appointment.  It seems weird that I could be as active as I am and have pneumonia, but then Dad rides even more than me.

My youngest brother came over this week and finished the beer making process with me.  We moved the beer into a bottling bucket, then added the priming sugar and bottled.  The color was nice and I think using a bottling bucket will lessen the amount of sediment we’ve had in previous batches.  There were certainly a lot of yeast turds left at the bottom of the first bucket.  It was a beautiful day and the landlords brought us some lovely watermelon.  We sat out in the yard eating huge wedges of watermelon and soaking up the rays.  It was a nice end to a good day.

My teen advisory group is going forward.  My manager is really excited about it and I am starting to get excited too.  I know I should have been earlier, but I was so ready to be shot down again, I didn’t want to get my hopes up.  I am going to start a soft promotion next week when I visit the local community centers.

I have been seriously missing the Mister this week.  He is so far away and I have slowed down on all of my social activities.  I filled up my date book with friend dates and outings the first few weeks, then went to Boston, and I didn’t have time to miss him.  This week I have been home most nights, reading or watching Doctor Who or Bollywood movies.  My couch is lonely, my room is lonely, my kitty is lonely.  But I also like being home rather than busy all the time, so I guess I had just better deal.

What am I reading? Mainspring by Jay Lake.  I like it!  It reminds me of a cross between Leviathan and Bloody Jack.  I haven’t seen any reason why it is in adult rather than teen yet, but that may still be coming.  It is a bit slower than most teen books, but the protagonist is a young adult that goes on an adventure to fill a quest given to him by an angel.  Sounds YA to me.

I finally got enough sleep after going to bed around 9pm last night.  I am still tired, but this should be the turn around.  Next weekend is a big family camping trip and I am looking forward to relaxing and hanging out with everyone.

In Libraryland I am planning programming and computer classes for fall right now.  That’s right, TEEN programming!  I am super excited about it.  I am going to have an advisory board and I am going to invite all my past and future volunteers to come.  Thanks to Interactive Reader for giving me some advice.  She currently has weekly programs including an advisory board meeting once a month.  So jelus.  I think her system has a bit more money to spend than mine on teen programming.

In homelife, I am having a benefit dinner at the beginning of August for the Step Out to Fight Diabetes walk that the Offspring and I do every fall.  I made a sample menu up of slow cooked ribs, tabbouleh salad, roasted vegetables, corn and other yummies.  I am now thinking about slow cooked bbq pork loin and a fresh apple and nappa coleslaw (I don’t like mayonaisse so it will have a vinegar dressing instead).  Anyway, it will be good.  If you know me and haven’t gotten an invite for some reason, please email or call and I will give you the details.

What am I reading? Still The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  I find problems with the ease at which the protagonist finds new clues after 40 years and the way women just fall all over him, but I am still enjoying the story and learning a bit about Sweden.  I am looking forward to finishing it, though, so I can start Mainspring by Jay Lake which was recommended by ahniwa in an earlier post.  I am on a real steampunk kick lately.

On Newberry Street in Boston.  El Jope would like this one.

The subway, where I spent a lot of time being unsure if I was heading the right way.

Fenway Park where we saw the Red Sox trounced by Tampa Bay

Boston from the Harbor.

I am home, exhausted and about to start my first day back at work.  My flight yesterday was delayed by several hours which I got to spend in the lovely Denver airport.  The company was good at least.  For the first time in my travels I talked to strangers.  We were all traveling to Seattle, which gave us something in common.

A few of the people I met:  a photographer family who live in Bremerton and take pictures for the Teamsters Union, they have chickens and are homeschooling their two children;  A middle aged man traveling with his wife and daughter who has been assigned overseas but was from the Seattle area, his daughter is interested in attending Western and we chatted about handheld devices–he had a new iPad;  A mom traveling to California to meet her best friend’s adopted son–they found him in Africa, he had a congenital heart disease and they gradually got permission to bring him to the states for treatment, then to adopt him.  It was a beautiful story.  She and I swapped young adult book recommendations.  My last chance conversation was on the Link on my way to dad’s to get my car.  A lovely young girl was traveling with her father and we discussed how clean Link was compared to her subway back in Mariland, the fireworks and how Independence day celebrates our freedom from the British.  Her father mentioned that they were from Hong Kong, which was also a British colony.

By the time I got to Dad’s place it was 10pm–1am on the East Coast–and I was tired.  I tried to stay and watch the fireworks they were letting off, but my weary mind realized that traffic was going to be hard to navigate if I waited too much longer.  As it was, I caught the end of the professional fireworks display as I drove up I-5.  Everyone slowed way down and some people actually pulled over to the side of the freeway to watch.  They were amazing.

What I would have blogged if I had reliable internet: The feeling of the union conference got better once the voting for the Secretary/Treasurer was completed.  The support for the two candidates was fairly even, although Lee Saunders won by several thousand votes.  Danny Donahue was very gracious in his concession and both candidtates reminded everyone that we needed to be united or we wouldn’t accomplish anything.  It is rumored that Donahue will be running for president in two years at the convention in California.

I spent a lovely day in New York with my brother.  We walked and subwayed all over Manhattan.  I got to see the New York Public Library, the 9/11 memorial (what there is so far), the Washington Peace Arch and Central Park.  We ended the day at the Pig n’ Whistle, which was a very nice Irish Sports Pub.  I will have a picture post up soon.

What am I reading? After a slow week with Fallen, I finally got on to White Cat by Holly Black and the only problem I found with it was that I was done in about 5 hours.  I loved the premis–Callan is the only non-magical person in a family of curse workers and organized crime.  He finds himself on the roof of his boarding school in his skivvies one night with no explanation how he got there.  He is told to go home until he has a doctor’s note that states he will not sleepwalk again and as Callan goes about getting one through a less than legitimate means, he realized there is more going on than simple sleepwalking.  Other than some crime and dubious morals, there is no reason why younger teens/tweens couldn’t read it.

I also finished The Red Umbrella by Christina Gonzales.  It is the tale of 14 year old Lucia and begins with her charmed life in Cuba.  She loves her home and her family, but then Castro comes into power and threatens everything.  Her friends turn into revolutionaries, her father is threatened and she sees abuse and death all around her.  Lucia’s parents send her and her brother to America to get them out, but cannot come themselves.  Lucia and Frankie have to learn English, immerse in a new culture and make new friends, all the while worrying about their parents and whether they will ever be able to return to Cuba.   The story is pretty good and a nice option to give to those doing historical fiction reports.  It is suitable for all ages and adults would like it as well.

I just started The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson and it is much different than I expected.  The first couple of chapters were a chore, but now I am completely sucked in.