Wednesday, November 19, 2008

To the Rooftop!

My favorite picture from the trip. Butterflies made out of pages of books, coming out of little books. When you see the whole picture, the butterflies make up a face, Psyche. It would be more striking on a solid background, but unfortunately, the piece gets lost in the levels of the library.

I spent a lot of time walking on this leg of my vacation. Dr. T was back at work on Monday and I walked to the library, which was very cool. The City Library is beautiful, smaller than The Seattle Central Library with only 5 floors. If you take a look at my pictures, you can see they have a rooftop garden with seating and many interesting details. The crescent wraps around a large open area and serves as a stairway up to the rooftop. The view was magnificent and I loved this bit of tagging:

I went up to the teen area, called the Canteena, and was surprised they were playing music. Everything is open there, so you could hear it outside of the Canteena, but it wasn't outrageous. I asked the librarian how they chose the music and she told me that they put up a poster asking for music requests, then those CD's were pulled from the main collection and played. Teens can also make a request to change what is playing. There were several teens hanging out in the booth style tables and several more browsing the shelves. I tried to observe our own rules about picture taking, but the librarian at the City Library didn't tell me that I had to get permission of the patrons to get them in the pictures.

After an hour or two at the library, I wandered a couple of miles over to Temple Square. I walked in, got bombarded by overly nice people and left post haste. The architecture was interesting, but I decided I didn't need to see the inside without any friends to bolster my mental stamina. I went across the street and caught the Traxx out to the University. Then I walked all over the hillside near the Medical School until I finally found Red Butte Garden. I can imagine that these gardens would be really interesting in the spring and summer, when everything is green and in bloom. As it was, they were still beautiful, especially down by the koi pond.

On Tuesday I just went shopping then had dinner with Dr. T in the hotel rooftop restaurant. The food was rich, but very good and the company was lovely. We had the whole place to ourselves and a view of half of the city.

And now I am home with a kitty who is very happy to see me. In just a few more days, Dr. T will be back too.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

More Vacation

I didn't make it to the nice Washoe County library like I had hoped. We tried but couldn't find it. The address is in one of those black holes that neither Google Maps or Yahoo maps could find--disjointed directions, ending in the middle of a highway. Sure.

We had a nice family dinner with Sbf's parents and sister, along with her boyfriend and daughter. The little one was so cute, if a bit tired. She only had short moments of crankiness though and was well entertained by Grandpa. They were very nice people and the Mom, whose birthday it was, is a school librarian in the area, so we had a little in common. I fear that the bad economy stained my side of it, making (hopefully false) predictions and the conversation quickly steered away, because who wants to think about the downsizing of one's job?

After dinner, Sis, Sbf and I went out to see Reno. It was glitzy and glamoury, but the kind that sort of ices over the run down and sad. The bar we went to was nice--owned by Sbf's friends from his fraternity years. Sis forgot her id though, so we didn't go much further. I did put a quarter in a slot machine and got my picture taken under the Reno sign.

I am in SLC now. The weather is still beautiful--slightly colder in the 50's, but sunny and amazing blue sky. I got in around 12:30 pm yesterday and Dr. T picked me up. We drove all over town. My favorite neighborhood was Sugarhouse and I stopped by the library there, called Sprague. The libraries here seem to be very accessible, in very logical places. Tomorrow I am heading to the main library. It has some fascinating architecture and I am looking forward to seeing the inside.

Today we went to a place called Park City (renovated Leavenworth, but scarier) and to the Hogle Zoo. Many of the pictures I took were from there, so now it is harder to get through the set. I wish you could make a sub-folder on flickr. Repetition: if you click on the title of this entry, it will take you to the flickr page.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Carson City, NV

I knew I wasn't going to update as much while I was on vacation, which is why I didn't join NaNoBloMo.

So here I am, day 4 in Nevada. It is beautiful and sunny here, which is just what I was hoping. I have been lazy in the mornings (although I only slept late today), meeting either my sister or her boyfriend for lunch around noon, then doing more in the afternoons. On Wednesday I visited the Nevada State Museum, which was more interesting than I thought it would be although their website is archaic. The building on the right is the Nevada Supreme Court building where my sister works. See how nice the weather is?

Tonight we are going to dinner in Reno, then out to celebrate sis's boyfriend's new job. Tomorrow I am heading to Salt Lake City to see Dr. T. We plan to visit the zoo together, then probably do a tour of the University where he has been working.

I will post more pictures as I take them. If you click the link in the title it takes you to the flickr page that has a few more photos of Carson City, including one interior picture of the Carson City Public Library. The library is an old one--it reminds me of the Lynnwood Library when I went there as a teen a REALLY long time ago. All fake wood and metal cabinets, bunker style architecture, but they definitely make the best of what they have. It is a stand alone--no branches to serve outlying areas, although there is a county library system nearby. They have everything I would expect a progressive library to have, DVD's, CD's, computers, gaming for teens and a nice teen area, large children's area and a lot of fiction and non-fiction. Magazines covered a huge wall and had a good variety of topics. They don't get CIPA funds--no filtering on the computers. They expect parents to supervise their children...

On the way to dinner this evening, we are going to stop at South Valleys Library, one of the Washoe County Libraries. It looks to be new and beautiful and professes to have a teen zone. On a side note, it is nice to see that SPL's website is one of the better looking ones...

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Yay, Vacation!

Gotta get away...

In just 3 days I am leaving for sunny (maybe? I hope!) Nevada to see my sis. I am really excited. I haven't seen her since early September for the family camping trip. She lives in Carson City, right outside of Reno, with her cute little cat and her boyfriend. We are going to celebrate her boyfriend's new job--he was still living in Elko until this weekend. (You might remember that I visited her there and took many pretty pictures.) We don't have any specific plans beyond that and going to a bbq place she was telling me about. Since we are so close to Reno, we will probably have a night out there.

Then I head to see Dr. T in Salt Lake City. I have been there once before. It is a pretty city, known for it's large population of people of the Mormon faith and the salt flats that provide much of the table salt in the US. Last time I was there, we drove right by the Morton processing facility. You can kind of see a mountain of salt out the window of this moving car -->

That was the best I could do at the time. I won't be (I don't think) seeing the salt this trip. My plans are to stay in the city, visit the library, see the other sites recommended, and spend as much time as physically possible with Dr. T. Because I have missed him. A lot.

So yeah, 3 days till lift off. I hope I don't forget anything.

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Friday, November 07, 2008


It's true!

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Tonight in Libraryland

My comics writing program went really well tonight, despite a snaffu with the news release (wrong date) and the weather. Only 5 people made it, not counting me and Brandon, but the program was definitely a success. Brandon Jerwa was a lovely speaker, funny and full of information about the comic industry. We had a lively discussion and I even felt somewhat knowledgeable, at least about graphic novel genre and Joss Whedon.

EXCEPT! Brandon let me in on a little known factoid. Did you know that Joss wrote Toy Story? Yes, REALLY!!

Now I have to watch that again (for the 50th time, I have a son just the right age to have really liked that movie) with that in mind. I can already see parts of it in a different light.

Thank you Brandon for a delightful evening.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Why are Summer Reading Programs for Youth Important?

Here are some reasons put forth by a wise woman I work with (ooh, aliteration...)
  • Research provides abundant evidence that summer reading setback is one of the most important factors contributing to the reading achievement gap between children of high and low economic backgrounds.

  • Children who have fewer opportunities to read and fewer books to read over the summer are more at risk of failing in school.

  • The reading achievement of poor children declines an average of three months over the summer, while that of children from middle-income families improves or stays the same.

  • Studies have shown that low-income and minority students undergo larger summer reading losses than their middle-class and White classmates and that reading is the only activity that is consistently related to summer learning.

  • The effect of reading 4-5 books on fall reading scores is potentially enough to prevent a decline in reading achievement scores from the spring to the fall.

  • Children who have access to books also read more books over the summer.

  • A summer reading loss of 3 months accumulates to a 2 year gap by the time poor children reach middle school.

  • Evidence indicates that children from lower-income families have less access to books, both in and out of school than their more-advantaged peers.

  • Research shows that public library use among poor children drops off when a library is more than 6 blocks from their home, compared to 2 miles for children from middle income and higher families.

  • Better readers read more than poorer readers. The volume of reading is key to the development of reading proficiency.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

What's a Girl to Do?

I was watching Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, when I found out that Joss Whedon will have a new show on Fox this winter. I am surprised that Joss would do another show with fox after the fiasco with Firefly. It seems that fans have already begun efforts to save the show from cancellation. This again shows what a bad fan I am--the article ran in Wired in May, and I am just now finding out about the show at all? I didn't think my fan creds could go any lower.

So, Dollhouse. What to think? I like Whedon and I like Eliza Dushku. The premise of live dolls that can fulfill any need for a price could go either way. Since Whedon is writing, it has a good chance of being good, but I don't know if it will have enough cheesiness to keep it lighthearted as Angel or Buffy. Firefly had just the right balance of sci-fi, plot and humor to make everyone that watched it miss it forever. Since Dollhouse doesn't come out until January of '09, I guess I will just have to wait to find out.

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Fill in the Entire Circle

Reading my blogging friend's post on voting made me confront the nagging feeling I am getting this election season. I filled out my ballot early this year, and I poured over the voter's pamphlet, talked to people, read the newspaper (gasp!) and watched the news before making my choices. In the past, I have been less than a good voter. I have missed many deadlines, not gotten ballots in the mail soon enough (these are not the same thing, and I think the second one is sadder than the first), filled out ballots based on gut feelings and political parties. I want to be a good voter, but my tendency towards procrastination does not serve me well.

This year, so much rides on who gets elected it makes me sick with worry. This is the first time in my memory that I cannot fathom letting the "other guy" win. I cannot imagine enduring 4 years of the wrong person (yes, from my point of view) being in office. Some part of me imagines the world coming to a slow and agonizing end, complete with the fires of hell and watching all that is dear to me melt away.

I know, I know. I am over reacting. I have lived through plenty of presidencies and governorships and I am still alive. No one I know died or even suffered much under the reign of the "other guy." Why does this one feel so important!? Why is it giving me bad dreams?

Guess I am growing up. I am looking forward to becoming old and senile and not having to worry so much later in life.


Saturday, November 01, 2008

Wholey Voting

I liked this a lot:

So get out and vote already!