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Alexsis’ comment on my last post reminded me that I should update.  The Paperback Riders did come in first, both in miles (widely) and percentage (barely).  I’m really proud of my team and I have heard from other staff that observing us participate in Bike to Work month has motivated them to start riding to work as well.  Which is really the goal, right? ;)

I’ve finally done some real riding on the Surly, and she is a beautiful machine.  Really light and fast.  I went on a short ride with the new Mr. a week ago and I blasted up a big hill, leaving him in the dust.  Evidently he didn’t realize I had it in me and had settled in for a long slow climb.  Oops, I’ve got to stop complaining about hills. It gives the wrong impression.

I just got back from a Union convention in LA, where the only exercise I got was swimming in the salt water pool on the roof of our hotel and lots of walking. And breathing, that felt like exercise in LA.

Salt water pool on top of the Standard

Now it’s time to start training again.


I guess all I had to do was lament how hard things were getting for them to get easier.  I adjusted a few things on my bike and kept riding and it got easier again.  I am powering up hills now in much higher gears than I used to, and I ran over 3 miles without stopping after a 3 mile bike ride.  The sun definitely helped.

In Libraryland, TAG has been asked to make a video promoting our Summer Reading program for teens.  It might be difficult to pull it together in time, but they seem willing.  Steampunk Summer!  I think the adults will be jealous.

Yesterday was a difficult patron day.  Some days I just want to put up an invisible barrier that will bounce out anyone who doesn’t really want me to answer a question, they just want to hear themselves speak.  I’ll add it to the list of superhero powers I need to develop.

I got off an hour early to go to the Bike to Work celebration in Ballard, which was so nicely distracting.  The ride to Ballard was very satisfying; I felt strong and I passed a ton of people.  The weather was still ok and I met up with some good work friends and we finagled some nice swag.  I also had Second Ascent take a look at my bike and the guy said that I need to replace all my gears, front and back, and my cables.  Only a few hundred dollars.  Sigh.  Maybe in the fall.  I can’t really mess anything up worse by continuing to ride on it and none of it is going to fall apart in the next couple of months.  He did fix a snaggle tooth for me, though, so that should help with my chain problem.

I got the Boy last night and he has just been a bundle of depressed hormonal joy.  He is grumpy about a girl and doesn’t want to talk about it.  Much better to mope and snap and sleep.  Ah well, perhaps cleaning the bathroom will distract him!

What am I reading?  Well, yes I am still reading The Scar.  I am happy to say that I made it to the half way point.  I think this is my last day of check out on the ebook, so I’ll have to decide if I am ready for the second half right now.  Might be a good book for the plane next week.

I am also reading Paul Pope’s 100%, which is an edgy sci-fi comic.  I haven’t quite figured out the story line, but I like that sometimes.  I don’t want to be able to guess what is going to happen next all the time.

A friend lent this to me months ago, but somehow it got lost in the bedside table stack and I found it again just 2 nights ago.  Fascinating stuff.  Strong female characters who don’t have everything figured out (I get a little tired of feminist agendas where you are always supposed to have the right answer).

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.

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.

There was a big to do that I pulled off last Sunday.  I didn’t write about it because at the time I wasn’t sure how it would work out.

The Offspring and I, along with various friends, have done the Step Out Walk to Fight Diabetes every year for the last 3 years.  Asking for donations has always been hard for me.  I don’t like asking people for money in general, but this is a cause I believe in and that gives me hope.  Some of you know, The Offspring has type 1 diabetes.  He was diagnosed four years ago and while dealing with becoming a teenager, which is hard enough for most kids, he has also had to learn to deal with pricking and injecting himself 4 times a day.

So, last Sunday I had a dinner party where I charged people to come.  I have a party every summer anyhow, so I upped the quality, did more planning than usual, put some tables out in the yard with actual table cloths and raised about $600 for Step Out.  Out of the 90 people I invited about 25 came, which turned out to be the perfect number.  I donated the food, since I would have had a party anyway, people still brought wine and I put out a tip jar on the beverage table.  I also made a few things and put them out for a silent auction, and the biggest surprise was they all sold.

And we all had a great time.  It was a good mix of people, some from work, some friends and some family.  A few people I had never had over before.  I enjoyed every minute.

And I had a lot of help from The Mister’s mother, who came into town the day before.  She helped keep me on track and motivated and helped with all the preparations.  She came all the way from Spokane to be there.

What a great day!

Wasn’t yesterday beautiful, fellow Seattleites?  We waited a long time for this summer to come but now that it’s here, it is amazing.  I celebrated my Wednesday off with decadent musings with iAsshole while cruising Green Lake.  There were many hilarious moments, which we often have when we were together.  There were also a couple of awkward ones that we had no control over.  At one point, a large man on roller blades yelled “hey, Red” at her while we walked by.  I wanted to say, “that’s pink to you, buddy.” but she just replied with a dismissive “Was’ up?” and we moved on.

The Offspring and I had a fun time wandering the streets of Seattle after I got home from my walky/talky date.  We went to Pike Place and braved the crowds for a little while–tourists…  We decided to escape that crush by going to a movie.  I do not recommend Dinner with Schmucks.  It had a few redeeming moments, but it definitely a DVD watch.  We ended our day with Sushi Mori, which is rather expensive for the atmosphere, but has wonderful sushi.  The Offspring was a lot of fun to be with.  No “I’m bored”s or complaining.  He even carried his stuff in a backpack instead of trying to foist it off on me.  His idea.

In libraryland, the weeding is going slowly.  I had a full day off desk on Tuesday that included a Teen Services Meeting and teaching an introductory email class.  My comics and graphic novels order has to be in tomorrow, so I will just have to get ‘er done. Time flies.

What am I reading? Pump Six and Other Stories by Paulo Bacigalupi.  This is the book of short stories where the idea for Windup Girl came from, although I haven’t gotten to that one yet.  So far there have been several different possible futures for man kind, most of them involving a very different moral compass than I would be comfortable with.  The story I just read featured three mining security officers who’s bodies still resemble humans, but heal almost instantly and can consume almost anything as food.  They find a real dog out in the wastelands around the mine and almost kill him through carelessness.  The only other animals they have ever seen were in a zoo.  I find these stories fascinating and Bacigalup creates a believable and vibrant world.

Usually when I don’t post for a while, I am still thinking about posting and feeling guilty for not getting around to it.  A sign that my life is super eventful (in an everyday is busy in a mundane sort of way) is that I haven’t even thought about posting.  I sort of forgot I had a blog until I ended up with a few free hours this morning due to a canceled run with friends.  I was clicking around in my usual internet haunts, sad by the lack of new content when I spotted WordPress in my Chrome lineup and went “duh, speaking of lack of new content.”

Why has life been so busy?  Lots of work meetings, interviewing new volunteer candidates–I am actually going to have to make some tough decisions this time–, Bike to Work month–186 miles ridden in May as of yesterday–, planning for a union conference in Boston in late June that I just found out I would be attending and The Mister is getting ready to leave for his adventure in surgeoning.  In fact, we are leaving on Saturday to drive him to the land of deserts and gambling.

We had a grand send off party for him last weekend.  Many of his friends and family came, as well as mine.  The weather held just long enough to get us through.  I made some tasty ribs and salmon, tabbouleh salad and Parmesan chive biscuits.  The Mister got to spend some time with his childhood friend and it made me smile to see them together.  My best friend, who is also moving away for residency, was able to be there for a while.  I am going to miss her so much.  Luckily her new home is on the way to his, so when I road trip in November, I can stop in and visit.

In my chats with people about Bike to Work Month, I have realized that despite my list of “pet peeves” in previous posts, I have been largely unmolested on the roads.  I know that some drivers dread seeing a biker in their lane, imagining the worst–and some riders live up to that.  I don’t feel that I am one of them.  I am overly cautious when it comes to signaling turns and making sure that I wait my turn at lights and stops.  I have occasional slip ups, but I do as a driver too and I think that everyone does.  This month I have ridden more than ever and had fewer problems with drivers than I ever have as well.  I have also not seen as many stupid biker tricks as I have in the past.  Good for you Seattle.

And speaking of pet peeves, why is it that the hills never get any easier?

What am I reading? I finished Bitter Seeds and heartily recommend it.  The writing really draws you into the story and while the settings aren’t overly described, I found myself picturing clearly the race through France to the Channel, the doctor’s home, and the barracks where Milkweed was housed.  The characters were sparely described as well, but you didn’t feel that they were unformed, just somewhat mysterious.  I am looking forward to a sequel.

I just started Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins.  She is the same woman who wrote Hunger Games and Catching Fire.  Gregor is the first book in a series that she wrote earlier for younger children.  I am giving it to the Offspring next, as I think he would really like it.  I can’t wait until Mocking Jay comes out…sigh.

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.