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California was such a nice interlude.  I spent a wonderful evening at the Davis farmer’s market, drinking wine and hanging out with friends.  We visited Emeryville and another friend whom I hadn’t seen for a while, wandered another farmer’s market (where I may have found a cure for my acne–I have to give it another week to make sure), took pictures on her deck with a beautiful view of the water and met her wonderful new husband for the first time.

It was so nice to spend time with my best friend.  I haven’t seen her for months and well…she was in medical school, so in a way it’s like I haven’t seen her for years.  She took all 3 days off that I was there and we had a wonderful time together.  We wandered, we gazed, we shopped, we jumped in the cold pool after a hot day.  It was super.

Coming back to Libraryland was hard after 3 such spectacular days off.  The weather here in Seattle has been very nice, which has helped.  I have been riding my bike as often as possible, practicing my zen meditation to try not to be annoyed with the Green Lake riders and drivers.  My second Teen Advisory meeting went very well, as did my first school visit this academic year.  I went to a meeting to go over the strategic plan that is being developed, and that actually left me optimistic about the future of our library system.

What am I reading? I finished Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier, which is one of the books I picked up because I didn’t have anything interesting come in and I found it wonderful.  There is so much going on in this book and it all comes down to the main character, Dimple, figuring herself out.  At the end of Junior year, Dimple is a ABCD (American Born Confused Desi) who has a best friend who is blonde, beautiful and enigmatic.  Dimple would do anything to have her self confidence and poise.  As the summer goes on, she loses her friend for a while, but she finds herself.  Finally embracing both sides of her American and East Indian heritage and culture.  A very good add to your reader’s advisory list, almost everyone will feel some sort of affinity with the characters.

Now I am working on Will Grayson Will Grayson by a couple of my favorite (somewhat) reality fiction authors, John Green and David Levithan.  It is different, it is interesting, it is captivating.  More later.

I finished Monsters of Men and I loved it.  So nice to have so many good books right now.  Todd and Viola find themselves separated by necessity and responsibility.  They must stop the war that the Mayor wants badly and keep the Mistresses from making things worse.  Another several shiploads of colonizers are asleep just beyond the atmosphere, adding pressure to end things swiftly, but what is the right thing to do?  There is always more to the conflict than meets the eye and Todd and Viola have to wade through the mess to get to the best answers.  Sorry that all sounds so vague, but if you have read the other two books, you know how involved this story is and how easy it would be for me to give away some part that you should find out for yourself.  Let me just say that this book was just as satisfying as the other two, although I found the ending a little too pat.

Finally some good news out of the changes.  As good as losing your Branch Manager can be, anyway.  My new Regional Manager is top notch–in fact all the people chosen to take those positions are great.  In this at least, they seem to have chosen the fresh and innovative, or the older and wiser (not necessarily in years, but experience).  Perhaps they are trying to throw a pall on the influence of the union, which is the reason why layoffs go by seniority.

Despite my earlier emotional confusion and survivors guilt, I can feel my thoughts settling and life is becoming much less of a chore lately.  As the cooking and cleaning shows.  I was pretty depressed when The Mister left and work was still up in the air (not that anything is for sure, but not getting a letter leaves me feeling a little bit better).  I still want to do whatever I can for my coworkers, to keep them in jobs.  I am just relieved that my mental well being is returning, because I was a crazy dumbass there for a little while.

Right now I am listening to Stars and waiting for my rice to get done for my Palak Paneer–which I have already sampled and am in love with.  Stars are lovely chill music and I can’t wait to see them live on November 6th.  I bought myself a single ticket because The Boy isn’t sure he wants to go to a show.  I will get him an all ages ticket later if he decides he wants to go.

What am I reading? I finished Skin Hunger last night.  It was a good story–Sadima is an orphan girl has a power she doesn’t understand and she goes to the city to meet a man who sees her for herself, rather than the mother who died birthing her or the ability that scares them.  He is everything and nothing that she hoped, as he is the slave of a man with a dark vision and only his will shall be done.  Her love binds her and keeps her in that dangerous place until one fateful night.

Hahp has been given to the wizards to sink or swim as he is able in a world where magic is used for everything.  Starvation brings out the need and the clarity to make his own food, but other boys are not so lucky.  Alternate chapters are told by Sadima and Hahp, detailing their lives, losses and hungers.  The title is not explained, but there are several things it could reference.  I recommend not reading the cover flap until you are done with the book, as it gives away a storytelling device that I was glad I didn’t see until after I finished the book.

Monsters of Men is just as good as I hoped (10 pages in…).  Gotta go finish my chores so I can go to bed and read.  Oh and dinner was absolutely delish!

This weekend has felt like a vacation.  I feel like I have been away from work for a week instead of 2 days.  I am going to go back to calling The Offspring The Boy instead.  It just rolls off the brain better.

So anyway, The Boy and I went and saw “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” today.  It was really well done–about a boy of 16 who is just not handling life well and has been contemplating jumping off a bridge to end all his stress.  He checks himself in to a mental ward of a hospital.  Cool Craig, as he becomes known, needs to find an outlet for his pent up thoughts.  3 North, the mental ward, helps him find that, with a little help from some of the other patients.  In particular is Bobby, who is both outgoing and deflective; he helps Craig and confuses him.  As the movie went along, I found myself moved to the edge of tears one moment and laughing in the next.  I wasn’t sure The Boy would like the seriousness of the film, but he looked at me sidelong on our way out and said “it was good, right?”  It was one of those that made you think, that made you realize that mental illness can happen to anyone, that the mentally ill are just as much people as the average person.

I cooked a lot this weekend.  Dinner on Saturday was meatloaf, spaghetti squash and salad, all the veggies came from my and a friend’s garden.  Tonight was ahi tuna pan fried with sesame seeds, collard greens with bacon, fresh basil leaves and tomatoes and red rice.  I also made yummy granola bars–apricot almond–and paneer that I will make into palak paneer when I get my csa tomorrow.

We walked the Step Out to Fight Diabetes walk with some good friends on Saturday too.  The rain held off for the whole walk, which was at Magnuson Park, and on our way back to the car we walked through the Wetland Nature Conservatory.  We heard a lot of interesting birds and frogs and the air smelled wonderful.  I don’t even know how to describe it.

Today we walked with my sister in the Arboretum and checked out part of their new Pacific Connection Garden where we saw plants with leaves as big as we are.  It was beautiful and wind-y and peaceful.  We got totally soaked on our way back when the sky opened up a few blocks from my sis’s place.  I had left my raincoat in the car.  How useful.

Tonight will be an early night.  The Boy has driver’s ed (!?!) early in the morning, which means we have to get up and leave even earlier, and then I work until 6.  Later this week I get to go see my good friend in Davis, which I am so looking forward to.

What am I reading? After picking up and putting down several things, I finally got into Skin Hunger by Kathleen Duey.  I intend to go back to Born Confused, because I really like it, it just isn’t what I wanted right now.  I saw on my holds list that Monsters of Men has come in and I am so excited to read it.  I have to finish Skin Hunger tonight, or it might just languish with the others.

Yesterday got away from me.  I got a to Big D right on time yesterday, got my filling in an hour, went to the library to order a birth certificate, took the Offspring to lunch (half day at school) then went to his drop in conferences and actually got to talk to all of his teachers.  Not surprisingly, everyone likes him and having him in class, he needs to do his homework (and turn it in…) but he’s a smart kid with a lot of potential.  Somehow the conferences ended up taking longer than I thought they would.  By the time I went shopping and got home, it was 5:30 and I had an hour to get my place ready for my friend’s birthday party.  I didn’t quite make it and it left me feeling out of sorts the whole evening.

My house is a bit of a college style crash pad.    Basement apartment, hand me down furniture, a snake habitat, stuff in all the nooks and crannies.  My kitchen floor, which I painted right after I moved in, is coming off in sheets lately to show the concrete beneath.  There isn’t enough counter or storage space, so most of my kitchen appliances are right out in plain view, and these are not things I am interested in getting rid of.  I dream of having a house some day, with real furniture I picked out at a store (rather than off craigslist), a yard so I can have chickens and a garden and a lot less clutter.  I hope I am capable of the less clutter goal, because I hate it.

When the ladies came over for the birthday I was still doing the dishes and hadn’t gotten to vacuuming.  I gave up on the latter and true to form, everyone was in the kitchen all night anyway.  We had pizza, drank wine (except one who admitted that she was pregnant!!), toasted the birthday girl and ate cupcakes that another lady had brought.  It ended with promises to friend on Facebook.  None of us knew each other, except we all knew the birthday girl.

I think this weekend will be spent figuring out what I can get rid of.  It is terrible to have folks over then have to squeeze around them every time I need something out of the fridge.  It is time for a thorough clean out anyway.  I have planned a couple of times in the past months to do this and I get a little way in and I get distracted.  This time I will not falter!  (because otherwise I would be embarrassed I said I would do it so publicly and didn’t).  I will be living here for a while longer and I might as well make it more comfortable.

It’s been a tough week, but there are bright spots too.

On Wednesday I had some people over for games and we played Zombie Flux, which was pretty fun.  Several were fellow library employees and some work at another library system, so there was some budget and work talk.  The next day was the dreaded all staff meeting, where we got to see some cool stuff–our colleagues being awesome–and heard some PR stuff and how hard it was to balance the budget and how we are only losing a handful of people.  I don’t think it had the effect they wanted.  People still  have doubts about the system’s ability to continue providing excellent service with the upcoming changes.

Friday I participated in the flash mob the Friends of the Library put on in order to bring attention to the Library.  It was under attended and not well executed, but it was still fun and I got to see some library friends.  The idea was to show up and precisely at noon, to sit where ever and start reading.  However, everyone was talking to each other and holding a green friend’s bag, everyone sat down at random times rather than all at once and people kept trickling in after it started.  It continued for 7 minutes rather than the 2 I was expecting.  I hope the next one will be better organized.  The last one, which was a dance number at the Central Library, was very well attended and really cool.

Friday night was the union meeting and after we went for a drink.  I got home a bit late and fell into bed.  Saturday was a good friend’s birthday and again staying out too late.  I had to sleep in this morning but recovered nicely.  I rode to work, which was hard work for some reason, with a 2 hour stop at Greenwood.  When I arrived at my branch we made the coolest Halloween display.  I’ll try to get a picture to post next time.

Tonight I watched Greenberg and Seattle Chronicle.  I had been waiting to watch the first one because I was told it was depressing–and it was–and I wasn’t sure I could face it while I was still processing work stuff.  The second is interesting, but I am not sure how much I absorbed.

What am I reading? I have put down the other two books for now, but still intend to finish them.  I am currently finishing up the final Scott Pilgrim graphic novel.  My coworker lent them to me, since the library’s copies are in such big demand.  Scott Pilgrim is awesome.  ‘Nuf sed.