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I took a long vacation, with a short work stint in the middle. Then took a long weekend. I’ve had a few adventures.

My friend and I went bike camping to Tolt MacDonald Park in Carnation WA. It was a glamping trip really, since we got a Yurt for the two nights (you have to book 2 nights). It was fun and relaxing. We spent time on the river and I rode Stella around the trails a bit. On the way back, as a way to avoid a mile of 10% grade, we took a very flat detour that added a few miles to our ride, then also added miles by using the Burke Gilman Trail rather than the 520 trail. It was very pleasant, although I am pretty sure that I was just as tired as I would have been if we’d done the hills.

A few days later I flew to Reno to visit family, especially my one year old nephew. We had a nice hike and visited a few breweries. I got to spend some quality time with the little one.

I worked for 3 days, then took another 5 days off. During that time, I did some intense Bike Bingo-ing. I often revisited locations with friends as they went around. I got a blackout and some awesome prizes.

I also attended a bike/walk rally for safer streets with a couple of silly bananas. I gave out my thank you notes for a bingo square that day. It would have been cheating, except that everyone was so interested in Bike Bingo that I think it did the job well.

Next time I’ll tell you about hiking around on Mount Shasta!

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I watched the weather and waited, and finally it was close enough to my vacation to call it. We were going bike camping!

It’s barely spring in the Pacific Northwest, so the weather could have been torrential rain–and it’s supposed to be starting tomorrow–but we got our window of partly sunny, highs in the upper 60s.

I’d some some research where I wanted to go. I eliminated two places I’d gone before; Fay Bainbridge and Manchester State Park. The first was too close and would be more crowded. The second I’ve been to 3 times now and I’m ready for something different and a little further away.

Looking at Marley Blonsky’s post, A Non-definative Guide to Bike Overnighters Within an Hour-ish of Seattle, I settled on Kitsap Memorial State Park. A coworker seconded my choice–it was nice to talk to someone I know who’s been there. It’s a 20 mile ride with lots of other options for exploring. A grocery 5 miles away and a convenience store nearby. The hiker biker sites have tables and a fire ring, which isn’t always the case at other places.

We ended up leaving at around noon on Saturday to get there.

The timing was good because the ferry was easy and check in time was 2:30–no problems checking in early, but there was no camp host, so no on site firewood. We got some the second night from the convenience store.

It was hard to find the entrance to the hiker biker sites, but they were nicely secluded from the car sites. They were hidden down an unmarked trail directly to the left at the entrance to the parking lot.

We spent some time at the beach and exploring the park. It’s really small, but the view was nice. We got some camp neighbors that night who were biking around the peninsula, and this was the last night out. We went to bed early, but they stayed up late, chatting by their fire.

The second day we explored by bike, taking a round about way back to Poulsbo for groceries. I do love the Central Market.

We got back, bought wood, enjoyed the beach some more, took a shower (tokens purchased from a vending machine with $1 bills) and made a fire.

The next day we had a leisurely breakfast by the fire and rolled out around noon again.

We rode back through Port Gamble and Kingston. After the ferry, we stopped at Walnut Street Coffee for a caffeine and cookie pick me up, but still the hills in Edmonds almost kicked our ass. We persevered and made it to The Yard for celebratory tacos, and then it was only a few miles home.

A really great weekend. Here are a few more photos.

We had a lovely time in Florida and somehow I managed to put out of my mind that going to Florida would make it near impossible to do 30 Days of Biking in April. Oops.  Oh well, I’m back on the bike and now using MapMyRide to keep track of miles for the National Bike Challenge. I’ll also use it for the Cascade/Adobe Commute Challenge, but I don’t think it will do the auto upload thing for that–which it shouldn’t, only commute miles count for that.

So, Florida.  The Mister chartered us a sailboat and we sailed in the Keys for a few days. It was in the 80’s with good winds and plenty of room on the boat for the 5 of us. We had a wonderful time exploring the reef and Key West and then we went to Honeymoon Island outside of Tampa/Dunedin. Click on the picture below for the entire album.

People in Key West ride bikes, but I did not see one helmet.

 

Now that I’m back I’m in full swing planning bikey stuff. I have 3 major things going on. Sound Cycling biking info fairs at the library this weekend, the Commute Challenge–I’m a team captain for the Paperback Riders, and for Books on Bikes we’re hosting a Bike to Work day booth at the Green Lake library.  Our Seattle Public Library Teams will be challenging the King County Library System’s teams this year.  They have 5 teams and 25 riders. We have 2 teams and about 20 riders, so we’ll probably base the competition on percentages of commutes ridden. They also have a lot more ground to cover in a county than we do in a city, although that might not be a big deal.

As for reviews, I have two I plan to write today, although I’ll probably try to set them to publish a day or so down the road.  They are pre-releases anyhow, so you can’t get your hot little hands on them for another few weeks.  Still, good to place holds early and often!

Oh, as an FYI who know The Boy, he is moving to Spokane next week to try his hand at job seeking there. It seems that the Darrington/Marysville area is pretty barren and that Seattle is just too big for a small town kid.  Wish him luck!

I’m still in New Orleans, but ALA is over.  Many of the librarians, et al, have packed up and gone home.  The Mister and I have one more day to enjoy together before we both get on planes going to different places.  I find myself unable to make up my mind as to what I should do with this last day.  I have a couple of souvenirs to pick up and a box of books to ship home.  We should probably eat something.  But right now we are just sitting companionably in our artfully messy hotel room listening to the St. Charles street car go by every 10 minutes.

I have been to conferences before, even ALA.  In fact, I have been to dental conferences (don’t ask).  This is the first conference where it really clicked why I am here.  The sessions were good–I learned a lot about the future of digital media (ebooks, music, etc.), cloud computing, databases, and most importantly, myself.  I talked to people I didn’t know and gave them ideas from our system that they will take away and use to make their school library more interactive with students.  I learned from them too, in many ways.  Mostly I learned that my system is amazing, that we do a lot, even if we librarians sometimes feel that we, as a system, don’t take that first innovative step until someone else has tested the field.  There are a lot of places where we are the front runners in public libraries.

The panel I moderated went amazingly well.  Forty people came, which was great since it was in the very last time slot for presentations at the conference and that’s about what the room could hold comfortably.  There was a good representation of academic and public libraries in the audience and many of them had zine collections.  Our panelists, Jenna Freedman, Chris Ritzo and John Stevens made for a well rounded presentation.  Jenna is a librarian at Bernard College, which has an extensive zine collection.  Chris is a volunteer librarian at the Urbana Champaign Independant Media Center.  And John is at the State Library in Melbourne Austrailia, where zines are archived for the future.  Both John and Jenna have their own zines in addition to helping preserve them.  All three are very active in the zine culture in their areas, as well as in their professional pursuits.

After the panel we all trooped out to the parking lot to ooh and ah over the Zine Mobile, which will be taking a jolly band of zinester librarians (and honorary, or rogue as the case may be ;) on a road trip that passes through Florida and ends up in Milwaukee for the 3rd annual Zine Librarians Un-Conference.  I loved the van:

Once again, I am not going to tell you about what I am reading now because I wouldn’t do it justice under all this conference talk.  I’ll have a special book review edition after I return home.

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I’m here in New Orleans and enjoying myself immensely. The Mister and I have walked all over the French Quarter, checked out the River Walk and tasted some mighty fine gumbo. We’ve given up on finding a grocery in walking distance, but I found a farmers market this morning and we got some peaches. I seriously need fresh fruit or the gummy bear addiction goes into overdrive.

Yesterday I volunteered with NOLA School Volunteers through ALA’s Libraries Build Communities. We helped paint a school room at a local high school. Pictures above.

imageAlso pictured is a promotional postcard for a galley I am looking forward to reading. I met Jessica today in the exhibit hall and we had a great conversation about incarcerated youth and she offered to skype with my new mentee’s home. I hope to take her up on it.

I’ll fill you in on What I am Reading when I am back at the computer.

I made it to vacation and I (think I) even got everything done.

Tomorrow we leave for camping on the Olympic Peninsula, which almost guarantees that it will be raining.  I am sad that the Boy can’t come, but he has basketball camp starting on Sunday, and besides it is Father’s day weekend and I am sure he wants to spend it with his dad.  Hopefully I will have a signal so I can call and harass him every night.  I’ll post some pics here too if I can.

I have been wading through ALA related email, trying to decide what programs to go to.  A few have been added and I know I won’t really make up my mind until I get there and see where everything is.  If the sessions are across town, it’s not as likely I am going to make it.

Being the geek that I am, I reread that last paragraph and had to look up if it was bad grammar to end a sentence (or in this case, several) with a preposition.  Evidently not, although it is not recommended for long sentences where the preposition can end up far from its object, confusing the reader.

What am I reading?  Finally in the last chapter of Fevre Dream.  I have to admit I am getting tired.  But I really want to know what happens!  Tonight for sure.

Also still on The Jewel and the Key, and typing that I just realized what the title refers to.  I can be a little slow.  I still get a little frustrated with the Seattle references, but I am starting to move beyond it to enjoy the story and the writing.  Spiegler does a really nice job with description and substance, although I feel the character development is a little lacking at this point.

Wow, the two weeks since vacation have been crazy pants.  I don’t know how I packed so many obligations into such a short amount of time, but I figured out yesterday just how much I had booked.  2 computer classes (one of them my first day back), 1 TAG wrap up party, 1 TAG video edit (coming soon),  2 training sessions, 1 school visit (with 7 classrooms and a lunch table), 1 scavenger hunt program–throw in a weekend Union conference, a general membership meeting and a few personal things–The Boy’s basketball tournament in La Connor!–and I’ve been one busy woman!

Of course, there are upsides and downsides to this kind of thing.  I got to do everything I wanted (everything!), and I get the second half of the month off for vacation and ALA.  The downsides are that I had to drive most days because of supplies and early mornings, I woke up at odd times from anxiety dreams, and I was a little high strung.

Usually I don’t plan things so close, but a few weren’t my doing (training) and the others couldn’t be helped (without making the choice not to do them).  I had time for them all and planned really well, so they all came off without a hitch (except for Facebook class, but I blame Facebook’s ever shifting craziness for most of that).  I put the finishing touches on my Steampunk Summer display last night after the Scavenger Hunt and I like the way it turned out.  I talked up the teen summer reading program to teens at the local middle and high school and they seem pretty excited about it.  All of my hidden books disappeared pretty quickly and coworkers said that kids came in asking about it. (Click the link above for more info about Steampunk Summer).

What am I reading?  Still finishing up Fevre Dream by George RR Martin.  That books is long–but worth it, as Martin books are.

I just started an ARC that a local author gave me; The Jewel and the Key by Louise Spiegler.  She’s a history teacher and also wrote The Amethyst Road.  I like it so far, but I find that books set in Seattle unnerve me a bit.  Usually they use landmarks I know, but mix up their locations to fit the story.  I find myself wanting to look up every location on a map, which is distracting, but not the author’s fault.  The first scene of The Jewel and the Key is at Lincoln High School, which is a real place, but has not functioned as it’s own high school for a long time.  It is currently being used to house other schools while their school is undergoing renovation.  Right now, I think there are two elementary schools using the site.  Lincoln is in Wallingford, so every time the character turns a corner, I try to envision where she is.  I used to work in that ‘hood and know it fairly well.  I’m going to have to let this go to enjoy the story.  So far the writing is good and the characters are interesting.   More later.

I finished A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan–very contemporary.  I liked this book, but I’m not sure I loved it. I felt like I was reading several related short stories that eventually came together in one conclusion. I liked each of these individually–even (or maybe especially) the one done in power point slides–but overall it felt choppy and hard to follow. I did enjoy the characters; meeting each one, discovering their strengths and weaknesses and following them on their journeys. Egan creates a very in depth picture of each of her characters, and they are very interesting.

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I have not been to the strip once this trip. We’ve been thrifting and lazing and cooking. All things the Mister doesn’t get to do usually. I’m posting a couple of pictures from his balcony. You can barely see the pool where we spent some time on Saturday.

Today there are tons of kids running around and people bbqing at the little bbqs placed around the parklike grounds. Most places here are gated. Even the ghettos.

What am I reading? I just finished Bloodshot by Cherie Priest which was just the right amount of pulpy mystery vampirey goodness for a Las Vegas vacation.

I spent a long time on Overdrive last night finding my next book and settled on Fever Dream by George R.R. Martin, which is turning out to be a fantastic historical fiction fantasy, also featuring vampires. And steamboats.

An aside: who knew that SPL had a better ebook selection than KCLS? I guess I do now. Kudos to us!

I am officially going to ALA.  I was pretty sure a month ago when I bought my registration and said I would facilitate a panel.  I bought my plane tickets this week though, after realizing I missed the inexpensive window.  I should say less expensive, because when does flying ever feel inexpensive?

But I am excited to see New Orleans, and the Mister will be joining me, at least for a bit.  I am doing a day of volunteering, although I don’t know what my work will be, yet.  It could be anything from construction to cataloging.  The conference sessions sound good–hopefully that pans out.  Sometimes they sound useful and then you get in there and realize that it just isn’t, or that you’ve taken something really similar in the past.

Even more exciting than a bunch of librarians in a convention center? I have a camping trip with the Boy and dad-family the week before.  We have a couple spots out at Kalaloch, a place I love.  I hope the weather cooperates, but honestly, this spot I will go to in the pouring rain.

Which is what I got to ride home in tonight.  I went to the middle school and saw their a production of The Wizard of Oz.  It was amazing!  Not every note was on key but it was well executed, the acting was top notch and so was the orchestra and singing.  It was easy to see that the kids had put their all into the show.

And then I rode my bike home and got soaked.  It was so nice earlier today.  So far I am meeting my goal of riding every day.

It’s too late (I am too cold and tired) to add what I am reading.  Actually, I can just say that I am still reading The Scar by China Mieville.  It is a frickin’ long book, but worth every minute.  I don’t think I am going to finish during the check out time.

We have a new city librarian.  He doesn’t start until mid-August, but he comes with good references.

I was away visiting friends and family, trying to find the sun.  I did find the sun in Davis, but unfortunately the temperature was still in the 40’s and 50’s.  Too cold!  And the day we went to San Francisco, the wind was fierce!

The Boy getting blown away at Lands End park

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Author Patrick Ness (Knife of Never Letting Go) has posted the Top 10 adult books to read before you become an adult on the Guardian UK.  Do you agree?

What am I reading?  The Boy and I listened to 3 books in the car during our driving trip.  Heist Society by Allie Carter, sort of an Oceans Eleven with teens, Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer, young vampire grows up as a normal kid, and Foundling by D. M. Cornish.  All 3 were decent and the first in a series, but the last one was really engaging.

Foundling is the first book in the Monster Blood Tattoo series.  The reader is superb (audiobook!) and the story is complicated but effortless.  You fall into the world of young Rossamund, a boy with a girl’s name and an orphan who was raised in a maritime foundling home.  When he reaches a reasonable age, he is set loose to become a lamplighter; someone who lights the lamps along the roads and maintains them.  He doesn’t even make it out of town before the adventure begins.

D. M. Cornish masterfully creates the fantastic land of Half-Continent and makes you believe it exists.  It is different enough from our world to be engaging, but same enough to give something to hold on to.  Good for teens and tweens (and adults, in my opinion).  Enjoy.

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