Saturday, January 31, 2009

Brief Encounters with Teens

The Boy asked to have a friend over, and not at the last minute, so we have his Friend E over. Last night, on our way back from BFD I was enjoying the chatter of boys, understanding about 1/3 of what comes out of their mouths. Occasionally I would cut in with some wisdom, or more likely some snarky remark to keep them on their toes. At some point, I told them we were going to the Central Library in the mornning to go to the comics program.

"Cool," one said "We can run around and play hide and seek!"

"Yeah, last time we almost got kicked out."

Me-"What, almost kicked out?" (I hadn't heard this part)

"Yeah, we were running around on the 5th floor and this lady said she was going to call security"

Me-"Oh, yeah, no running. She was going to call security?"

"Yeah, it was so cool!"

Hmmmmm, yeah. "Trying to get me fired? You can't do that tomorrow, I am working and you can't get kicked out."

The Boy-"We can just wait in the car."

Me-"We're not taking the car, we're taking the bus."

The Boy-"Oh no."

Friend E-"Cool!" He seemed genuinely excited about the prospect of taking metro.

I have to remember to tell him not to bring his butterfly knife. But that's a different story.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Mentoring, Researching and Programming

Today my mentee is getting out of juvy. I don't know if she wants me there, but I am going to her release meeting at the Juvenile Rehabilitation Center, where she meets with her parole officer and members of the community who support her. A woman from the Orion Center will be there, and a drug and alcohol counselor. These are two parts of her life that she hasn't told me about, I don't know if it is because she thinks I won't respect her, or if she just doesn't feel that comfortable with me yet. I am both excited for her and scared, because so much can go wrong at this point. But she is out, and ready to start her life. She has to be an adult now, for her child. She has the right attitude for sure, and hopefully she will be able to follow through. I hope I can help.

I had a nice lazy day at Casa de la Dr. T, yesterday. I spent most of the day researching the Virgin Islands. It snowed here, and today it is sunny, but only 28 degrees. Something has soured the research process for me today, so I need to give it a day off before I make the plane reservations tomorrow. Edit: We gave the gift back. There was more information to be found about the situation, and we decided that it was more important for the grandparents to be there than us. We will likely take a trip this summer to Las Vegas that all of us can enjoy.

The Reading Marathon went great. We had between 70 and 100 middle schoolers all in one room, bundled up in sleeping bags and blankets, reading. There were many periods of complete silence, where everyone, including me, the teachers and the parents that came, were reading. We took breaks for snacks and pizza. I had an embarrassing moment when the first round of pizza came and it just wasn't enough. There wasn't a piece for every kid! The teachers banded together some literacy funds and ordered more, and I had a few more come later, so everyone got fed. I have half a page of notes on how to change it for next year, and number one is "order more pizza". The other branches doing this also had good turnout; 50 at one and 40 at the other, so the schools were pretty evenly represented. I feel like I got a lot of good face time with the kids that come into the library after school. They will feel more comfortable coming up to me now. I wonder how many new ones we will see.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Feeling Blessed

Life is pretty exciting these days. My cousin is getting married in the Virgin Islands in May, and I have been given a once in a lifetime chance to go. On top of that, all of my siblings on my mom's side have also been given this chance. This will allow us to spend 4 unstressful, amazing days on St. John, sharing a villa and just enjoying ourselves together. We have been growing closer over the last few years and this is a great opportunity for us to become closer as a family.

And to see my cousin married! Of course I am excited about that. She and I grew up together until her family moved to the East Coast when she was around 10. Before that we were like twins when we were together, having only 9 months between our ages (she still likes to tease me that she is younger than I am). Our grandparents got us the same gifts, we played tea party and had tickle fights. We loved it. We stay in touch, although we talk less than we should. She was a bridesmaid in my wedding back in '94.

She deserves unconditional love in her life, which she gets from her beautiful daughter, Brianne. I think that her fiance will also be a good fit for that position. She seems very happy with the match and I am looking forward to being at the wedding.

I am all a-flutter over planning this trip. I just can't stop thinking about it. My Grandfather and Step-Grandmother are making the whole thing possible. It gives me feelings of gratefulness and unworthiness at the same time. It definitely makes me feel loved. Not that I need a gift like that to know that they love me, they show me all the time in many ways, but I never expected such a selfless gift and it really turned my world upside down.

The Boy doesn't know about this yet. I am sure he will feel let down that he can't go, but it is in the last two weeks of school and we are hopefully taking a road trip during his Spring Break in April. I know he would love a chance to take a trip like this, but maybe in a couple of years we can do it again. I keep thinking that it wouldn't matter if he missed a few days, but it is a pretty crucial time for him and he hasn't been good this year at keeping up in his classes. Dr. T can't go because of school either, so the two of them will have something to bond over ;)

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

TMI: or my brain on ipecac

I have an onslaught of self reflection in others around me right now. It is making me look into how I have changed since I was a teen, or even a 20-something.

I am reading Red: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today. There are many amazing stories in this book, some related to body issues, some to family, school, life, etc. I am only about halfway through, but what really strikes me is that none of these stories say "poor me." Some are happy and some are sad, others are about outright amazing situations, but they all look at a time in a girl's life when she had a transition, or overcame a trial, or had an issue that she is still struggling with. It is inspirational to read these stories, even though you don't necessarily know how they turned out.

Someone close to me has a private journal about her struggle with an eating disorder. I find myself recognizing many of her feelings, even those of restricting food and ideas of worthiness. When I was younger, I used to lament my inability to follow the regimine I would try to set myself for food and exercise. I judged myself for eating "too much," for not being "thin." I judged myself for a lot of other things as well, but I always had this idea that if only I could fix that one thing about myself, everything else would fall into place. I am not trying to belittle my friends current experience by relating it to mine. She has her own situation, her own demons to fight. It is a serious struggle for her. I was lucky I was unable to follow the same path. I just didn't know it then. And yes, I know I am not fat (although part of my brain wants to qualify that statement. Down fido!)

I also recognize some of her feelings about family members. Not being sure who loved me, or what my relationship was with my Father, my Mother, my Grandparents. I would decide I didn't care and lock certain people out of my life--probably unknown to them. Some off hand comment would hurt me and I would retreat, withdraw my affection, my attention, my admiration. I have grown up now, and one of the most important thing my therapist taught me was to forgive, even if there wasn't anything to really forgive, you had to let bad feelings go because they cloud up your present and prevent you from being happy. I feel confident in my relationships with my family these days and there is only one person that I haven't been able to forgive. I hope to someday, it is a thorn in my side and a blight on holidays.

As a teen, I struggled with being left out. When I wasn't left out, I was teased. I had some good friends, but I also had some friends who were not good. The second ones fueled my low self esteem, made their friendship contingent on what I could give them, or how I made them look. If I was suddenly noticed by the popular crowd for a dose of meanness, these friends would desert me until the coast was clear. I was awkward, and I am not sure if I started out that way, or became that way after moving to my new school and becoming an outcast. Pictures of me from that time prove that I had a cute face, unruly hair, clothes that didn't fit and a bad fashion sense.

I just saw 3 runners, looking healthy and hale, come in on their run to all the library branches today. You can follow their trail here: I wonder, what is the difference between an eating disorder and being a ultramarathon runner? They must have rules for eating and exercising, and to many of the rest of us, it must seem like a strange set of rules, a strange way of life. Is it more acceptable because they accomplish something? Just questions running through my mind. I think these athletes are amazing and doing great things.

Lunch is about over, and I have to get to my Instruction Committee Meeting. Ciao!

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Monday, January 19, 2009

More random text to make your eyes bleed

During the day, I think up all these great ideas for blog posts. Then I forget them and all I do is give a commentary on my life. Boring! I guess I need to start carrying around a notebook.

The Comixtravaganza on Thursday night was great. We had a really good turnout with people of all ages (but no crying babies, as Sean put it). The contest was a lot of fun and Jope and EJ came, as well as Unshelved guy and his daughter. I had a great time chatting with them and parents and kids and Matthew Southworth and Sean from Zanadu. Usually I sort of freeze up in social situations but this was smooth city. Guess I finally have a handle on things.

Saturday was a lazy day--I was in pj's until 4pm. Then Dr. T and I took the bus downtown to meet Shoez and his girlfriend for her birthday at the Pike Place Brewery. We only stayed a little while because The Boy was at home hanging out without us. The bus was the right way to go though, since it picked us up w/in a block from my house and dropped us off right in front of the entrance, and after we only had to walk across the street to pick one up to go home. Why can't metro always work that way? Last week I waited through 2 times when the bus was supposed to show up and was late to work. The bus I take to Dr. T's after work is always late and last week it was FREEZING! Totally not fair.

Sunday was a blur. I worked, my car made funny rumbly noises, I got home, made dinner, stayed up way to late doing nothing.

Today, I rode my bike to the dr. office for an appt. It was so beautiful that when I got home I made Dr. T and the Boy go on a walk with me, during which the sun went behind the buildings and it was very cold--I complained the most. See me? The wimp? So sad.

So yeah, boring update post. I promise to try to do better next time. The most interesting thing about this post is the title.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sutra and a short recap

Last night a few friends from work and I went to a neighborhood restaurant. We had been talking about it ever since the owner's house was burglarized in November last year and they had come in to print off their menus in the library. The woman is our neighbor and she and her partner run both Sutra and Rain City Yoga.

None of us that went are vegetarian, but the food at Sutra is, and is actually vegan as far as I can tell. At Sutra everything is created and crafted with a lot of care given to how the foods look, taste, and go together. Each dish was beautiful and tasty with a nice blend of flavors. Nothing tried to pretend to be meat, which is where some vegetarian places go wrong. Also, everything was fresh, much if not all of the food was locally grown and it was filling. (The full menu of what we ate is on their website right now, but will change next Wednesday). I didn't get hungry after I got home. The chef/owner was very welcoming as was the server. He seemed delighted that we were from the library and so had ties to his community. There was a moment of thankfulness at the beginning for, well, everything good including sustainable farming that was not awkward at all. The whole experience was wonderful. I would eat there more often if only I could afford it. My co-workers felt the same. Since I can't eat there often, I will recommend Sutra to everyone I know ;)

Since my last post, I have cut my hair off above the shoulder. Also a local endevor--I went to Dandelion in Wallingford. Lindsey is wonderful. I also went to Silent Movie Monday with Sister U and saw The Magician. I have only gone to one of these about a year or so ago, again with Sister U, but I really like them. They have a live organist and other musical back up to fill in for the silent movies, and while their datedness is comical in many ways, I like the feeling of watching history. The Magician originally came out in the 20's, so I suppose my grandmother might have seen it then.

And finally, Comixtravaganza at my branch is tonight. I am both excited and scared. My headliner for the night almost had to cancel due to illness, but now assures me he will be there with helpers. Everything is purchased and now I just have to get there, remember my camera and be a good hostess. Wish me luck!

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Comixtravaganza Coming to a Library Near You!

You might have already seen the article in the Times, but it is that time again. Comixtravaganza time! We have a lot of cool programs in this series, including the Toon-In at the Queen Anne Branch tomorrow night. There will be several drawing workshops at various branches and it will all culminate at the Central Library on January 31st, where there will be a workshop with Davey Oil and Linda Medley (of Castle Waiting) will be discussing her work. Also, Seattle-based Slide Rule Comic Strip Slideshow Players will mix digital video and hand-drawn cartoons, live music and electronic sound, and animation and live performance to create a theatrical experience. For more information go here and put comixtravaganza into the search box.

It seems that University Branch will be the only library in the system that will have a Draw-a-thon contest. That is happening next Thursday, January 15th. Doors open at 5pm, short drawing workshop at 5:30, contest starts at 6 and judging happens at 7. Winners will be able to choose among prizes such as comic books, a comic artists art set and action figures. Door prizes will be drawn throughout the event and everyone will leave with a little something to make their inner comic lover swoon. Oh, and snacks. There will be snacks.

So yeah, you should totally come and check it out.

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Saturday, January 03, 2009

I like these!

So what, you say?

Am I just digging for more gifts? Don't I know that Christmas is over and who would spend that kind of money on plastic toys anyhow?

I am just excited for the Coraline movie coming out in February and when I saw those cute li'l buggers posted on Neil Gaiman's blog I just had to shout out. Couldn't help it.

No, I don't want to own them. Even though you can't tell from my actual living space, I hate clutter. Nick-nacks and other crap just don't float my boat. If I could, I would live in one of those pristine, sterile, ultra modern homes. But I can't. Know why? I have the hoarding crap bug from my mom. It is genetic, although some of us have overcome it pretty well. It is either out of protest for our upbringing or because his wife brings sanity to the household. Not sure which.

Mom used to take us out shopping a lot when we were kids. When I say she took us, that is the only part where we came in. She would go out, buy a bunch of useless stuff for the house, take us to lunch to bribe us to be quiet, then go hide the stuff at home to bring out a little at a time so my step dad wouldn't notice where his paychecks were going. I think it is a disease.

I don't really buy stuff, but I have a hard time letting it go. So when I get tissue paper with my clothing purchase, I save it because I might make it into something useful later. And cords to things I don't have any more? I may wish I saved it someday, so I do. Then when I do find a need for it, I can't find it. I go out and buy another one finally and the thing turns up the next day. Doesn't that figure...

So yeah, too much stuff.

And negativity. Another thing I inherited. I need to drop that too. Someone recently recommended How to Make Friends and Influence People as a good book to deal with that. Dr. T is amazingly good at avoiding negativity (except when driving ;) and I hope some of that will rub off on me.

Those are as close to resolutions as I am getting this year. Less stuff and less negativity. I doubt I can get rid of any of this crap. ;-)

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I like these!

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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

It has been longer than I meant to let go by without a post--I just put up those family pics I promised. Many of my friends are doing a survey for the new year, but I get a little exhausted after about the 10th question and there are close to 40 on the one going around now. I think I will just pick and choose a couple then move on to other things.

1. What did you do in 2008 that you'd never done before?

I trusted someone completely. That might sound trite, but it is true. Dr. T and I seem to have a certain connection that allows me to let go of any reservations I might have, any fears that usually crop up when I date someone for more than a month. It is an exciting place to be. Quite lovely as well.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? (see, jumping around, but still in the first 10)

Yes! My good friend Miranda* had a beautiful baby girl and my brother and his wife adopted a baby girl. I suppose adopting is not "giving birth" but this little one will never feel the sting of that difference. She is a gorgeous little one and obviously dotted on by her parents (and her aunties, uncles, cousin and grandparents as well). We are so happy to have her in our family :)

22. Did you fall in love in 2008? (and now I am a liar, because I jumped to 22 from 3--but the other ones were too convoluted to answer)

Still in love :)

24. What was your favorite TV program?

Currently I am between favorites, but in the past I have loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Veronica Mars, Weeds, Wonderfalls--so the colorful and weird, I guess.

26. What was the best book you read?

I can't answer this one truly but I can tell you that the author that I discovered this year was Kelly Link. And yes, I know I am a bit behind on this. I keep trying to find more stuff to read by her, but come up short (short story that is). I randomly picked up her newest collection of short stories Pretty Monsters: Stories at the ALA conference last summer and fell instantly and deeply in love.

16. What will always remind you of 2008? (Yes, now I am out of order...and it was supposed to be what "song" but oh well)

Obama winning the election and The Boy texting me then calling me right after to celebrate. That is one good kid we made.

Ok, done with that for now. Maybe I will make up some more questions of my own later.

The snow is already gone here in Seattle. All that is left are piles of sand and holes in the pavement. Mayor Nickels is having to defend himself over his handling of keeping the roads clear, and all I can say is that he did the best he knew. Maybe he did not know best in this situation, but I don't have many complaints against him and I can let this go as a learning experience. I laughed at the news the other night when they interviewed a guy who complained that Dravus wasn't open to drive on. I actually saw a girl flip her car in the rain on that hill once. You can't tell me you expect to be able to drive on it in freezing conditions?!? Fool.

The disabling aspect of the snow had me thinking back to other times when the snow was deep and school was canceled. I would say this happens here in varying degrees every 5-7 years. I remember sledding on a snow day when I was in 7th grade with my friend Jill. There was a big hill right next to her house and we would take our sleds out and just about kill ourselves on the hairpin turn half way down. One kid slid right into a car that was parked there, but he was ok. The car...seems like there was a dent. I also remember building a rather large snow fort with my son in either 2000 or 2001 out in front of our apartment building. It was a great place to hide when having a snowball fight.

More recent events in Srcsmgrl-land: went to Leavenworth with my dad family** and had a fairly good time despite being a bit sick. I had to miss work when I got back due to the sickies so I wouldn't pass it on to the work peeps. Went back to work on Wednesday, got all my reports done and helped a lady that had her purse stolen. After work, Dr. T and I went to see the Presidents at the Paramount. As a New Year's Eve party, it was lacking--only one bar and a beer garden, lines out the door for any kind of refreshment. We went to the Six Arms to bide our time and got back in time to see Monotonix who were quite interesting--think performance art meets rock and roll + short shorts, long unkempt hair and foreign accents. They were quite entertaining and actually pretty good musically. The Presidents were fun,but I think that somebody integral to the event fell asleep somewhere because they almost forgot to put up the clock to midnight--only got it up with 2 minutes to go--then they forgot to loose the balloons, despite the outcries from the crowd. We left at about 12:20 to meet Sister U and her beau for a nightcap, then headed home. I think I was out the latest I had been in the entire year before. Good way to start a new year.

*Miranda is my red headed friend that resembles Miranda from Sex in the City
**Dad family as opposed to Mom family--I have 7 brothers and sisters, 3 on my mom's side and 4 on my dad's. You could say that he won the race, if there was one to win.

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