Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wearing different hats

I am feeling more alive today, although I am trading the being tired and grumpy for stomach upset. I won't beleaguer you today with my whining, just know why I am still not quite myself.

I need a costume for Saturday. There is a costume party a bunch of friends are giving and they are REALLY into the dressing up thing. I have dressed up in the past and had some fun with it, but lost my momentum over the years. Last year I didn't even bother.

I looked through my costume box (doesn't everyone have one of these?) and found that I really have 2 choices, both of which will require the aquisition of some accessories. I can be a pirate BORING! or a steam punk. The second one is cool, but I am not sure that it is recognizable. I hate it when people ask: So what are you, anyway? Are there any recognizable steam punk characters besides Agatha Heterodyne from Girl Genius? Maybe Nausicaa or Sheeta from Castle in the Sky. But none of those lend to good costumes. Maybe I will just make a sign to wear that says "What? You don't know?" and leave it at that.


Lots going on in Libraryland. I am taking on more responsibilities while trying to be more organized and lessen others so that I don't get overwhelmed. It is working so far. I am redesigning and taking over updates on my Instruction Committee intranet site. That will only be a lot of work at the beginning. I have done two branch sites already, but the editing interface is pretty different for the committee site. I have been playing with that and learning about the difference between publishing pages and team pages. I have made a few small changes to start with and plan to make more sweeping ones when I have hang of things.

I am also "weeding" our Flickr account. Our paid subscription is up and we aren't going to renew. The free option only shows the most recent 200 pictures, so I will be choosing the "best" and deleting the rest so that the good ones show up on the blog.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Grumpy Weekend

The weekend was a little stressful for me. The boys don't seem to be talking. They talk in my general direction instead and seem to hope that the other boy will hear.

For example: The Boy asked if there was any soda. I told him he should ask Dr. T (because he had bought some and said it was for that purpose). The boy went back in his room without saying anything.

Me: huh, I don't think he understood was I was saying.

I heard a grunt from Dr. T.

I called to The Boy: There is soda, you just have to ask Dr. T where it is and if you can have some, because he bought it.

The Boy came back out, looked at me and said: Can I have some soda?

Me: Ask Dr. T.

The Boy: Dr. T, can I have some soda? (sort of looking at him, but then looking back at me)

Me: Please.

The Boy: Please?

Dr. T: I think there's some in the cupboard...

Dr. T didn't look at either of us as he said it. He went to get it, but this whole exchange left me feeling like I am in the middle of some silent treatment that is going on. The problem is, everyone forgot to tell me. Or maybe it includes me and that's why they didn't tell me.

Both boys were total bumps this weekend. Except that Dr. T had football and I dragged them both to Bed Bath and Beyond (which still solicits "watch out for the beyond section" from The Boy) and Costco. The crowds do not put me in a good mood and going to Costco sort of did me in. We were supposed to go to a pumpkin carving/autumn party after that, but both bailed on me and when I got home, they were both in the same place as when I left. Total bumps.

So I was grumpy all weekend. On Sunday I didn't even take off my pj's or step further out of the house than to take out some recycling. I did make some amazing bread and The Boy and I made dinner together on Sunday--breaded halibut. Yum.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Loose End Roundup

My flickr account occasionally gives me little gratifying (or not) gifts. A few weeks ago someone from Schmap!! asked if they could use one of my pictures from a recent hiking trip to Sol Duc Falls in their online travel brochure/app. Why not? So I said yes and it is one of the many featured here under Olympic Peninsula. I feel like it would have been more useful if they had at least tagged the location where the shot was taken. If you know me, and want to look for the photo, it is under my maiden name.

Speaking of Maiden Names, I have been considering going back to mine for years. Every 6 months or so I look up the how, why and when, then look at the cost and put it off a bit further. $150 isn't that much to pay to change your name, but then you have to send a certified copy of the name change to every creditor and institution that you do business with as well, and each of those suckers costs $5. Then there is the passport. Mine doesn't expire until 2012. To change your name on it is the same as getting a new one. And what about my certificates and degrees? I guess I could just file them away instead of having them on the wall. So I keep putting it off. Maybe it can be my alter ego, my superhero name. I can have it embroidered on my undies. >:-P

I had a whirlwind of news on my mentee last week, that put me emotionally through the ringer--mostly today when I sat down to put my contact log together. She called her social worker and said she was going to turn herself in and wanted a foster care placement. The social worker found one but in Covington, so when the time came, Mentee refused to come in because Covington is so far away. I am on a fence about this--the reason she ran away last time was because she was stuck out in Shelton. Maybe she is just being realistic about her ability to live out in the middle of nowhere? But understandably, the social worker threw her hands in the air and said "whatever! Figure your own sh** out" (my interpretation). That basically means she will have to turn herself into the authorities and go to detention, then get another placement. This is another black mark on her record of abandoning her baby. She won't answer the phone when I call, or she sometimes does, but hangs up on me. We never got to make the bond I was hoping for and for a while she thought it was my job to spend time with her. I am sure that colored things. Or maybe she worries that I would turn her in. It hurts that I can't help her or her son. I can't see him unless she gives permission, so I don't know how he is either. Anyhow, I will keep her in my thoughts, but I am going to stop feeling guilty (or try to) for not being closer to her. For now, it is out of my hands.

I am still riding to work once or twice a week, despite being sick or tired or just grumpy. I am starting to feel fit, rather than just staying the same, which is helping motivate me through this ugly fall weather. Random thoughts I have had while riding: REALLY glad I bought the rain pants from REI and coat from Second Ascent, I love how the leaves look on the library lawn after it has been mowed, I really don't mind the rain--it feels like home.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fall Gratification

The rain is here. It isn't phasing me one bit. Not that I like getting drenched, but for some reason I don't mind it this year. Plus we have been having some bad ass unpredictable storms that make the season feel exciting.


I do a lot of reader's advisory at my branches. Many of the queries are subjects that I can speak to well, like Juvenile fiction for boys and girls. I can totally help a kid or their parent find that kid their next book. YA fiction? Yup, got that one. Occasionally someone wants adult fiction though and often I am not helpful (enough). I don't have a lot of time for reading outside of YA and J and I rely heavily on the recommendations of friends and colleagues when I do. I seem to read more non-fiction than fiction in the adult arena as well, which is terribly unhelpful in adult reader's advisory.

A woman came in yesterday asking for a non-violent, "well written" mystery. Everyone's definition of "well written" is different and I was trying to tease some more info out of her, but she kept saying "I don't usually read mysteries," and I am thinking "but what doooo you read?" Finally I got her to tell me of a mystery author that she had read everything by (I know, right?) and found her some read alike authors using our LibraryThing app on the catalog. I felt lame at that point, but she seemed happy--but one can never tell. We don't have a survey that shows up at your home after an encounter and gauges your satisfaction with our service. We just have to hope the person comes back at the right moment and tells us.

And right after that, a woman came up and thanked me for helping her the week before. She was looking for some books by Virginia Woolf and I had found her one book and one book on CD. She told me that she found VW's "stream of consciousness" style to be cumbersome and asked me what I thought of her writing. I hadn't read VW since college and a lot of what we dealt with in her writing were snippets in class. In small doses Woolf is inspiring (or depressing) and beautiful, but when you read the whole, it could become a chore. I related it to certain musical artists, where you didn't enjoy their music, per say, but you did enjoy the works that came later by other artists who were influenced by the earlier one. Yup, I was feeling pretty intelligent. Probably one of the most stimulating conversations I have had with a patron since I started at SPL (outside of Intellectual Freedom).

I think my head is back to its normal size now.


Not a lot going on at home right now. Dr. T and I are settling in to domestic bliss. The Boy's football games have moved days so I only have one more I can go to later in the month. This makes our weekends much more laid back, as much as I would like to be there to see him play. It is dark and rainy out so I am not doing much gardening, although I think I will have a second crop of potatoes in my planter. It is so easy to grow potatoes that I think I will continue doing it throughout the year to supplement our potato addiction.

I will be in another wedding. Sister U is getting married next September and it is fun to watch her and her beau plan. They have a blog where they throw up all of their ideas, both serious and silly. I kind of hope they get the comic book hero cake though.

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Onigiri and Bento

I have been fascinated with certain aspects of Japanese culture for many years. (It must run in the dad's family). They just make everything so cute! I saw this blog post about making a suck up bento box and I just wanted a bento lunch box so bad. Then my cousin posted this video.

The combination of the two sent me over. I spent one afternoon out looking for bento boxes on the North end of Seattle. Everything was either really expensive, or really cheap looking.

Thanks DCB!My cousin saw my struggle on Facebook and since her husband is stationed in Japan and she and their children are there, she offered to send me a bento lunch box! Shipping from the base is the same as US postage. I got a whole box of fun goodies a couple of weeks later. Two bento, fishie sauce holders, fun paper cups to put food in and onigiri molds.

Today we tried out the onigiri molds. I read a lot about it before hand,(this was the best site) which was probably overkill because this is one of the easiest Japanese foods ever to make. I wasn't sure I would like the molds, because it sounded so easy to make without them--occasionally something that seems revolutionary just adds its own problems to processes. Not here. The molds made it super easy and we didn't have to burn our hands. We wore gloves anyway and it helped keep the mess down.

These are our finished product. You can check out our set on Flickr to see all the pictures. Basically, you dip your onigiri molds (or your hands) in water, then sprinkle them with salt. Press in warm (or hot, if you are feeling masochistic) japanese style rice, filling about half way. Add your filling--we used salted salmon and pickled veggies--then add more rice over the top. Press down with your dipped and salted top mold, then press it out of the mold. You can wrap the finished onigiri it in seaweed, fukikake, sesame seeds, or whatever suits your fancy. If you are making them for later, you might want to pack that part separate, as the seaweed tends to get a strange texture after sitting. Here is The Boy enjoying one of our first onigiri:

Chowing down

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Thursday, October 08, 2009

What's Going on with Your Sick Self?

I am home sick today, bored with Facebook (gasp!) and just put away my grocery delivery. I always wondered what would happen if Amazon Fresh went to the wrong door and didn't get an answer--evidently they just put it in bins and leave it in the usual non-attended spot. Thank goodness, I didn't want to think about having to go pick them up somewhere. Amazing! All I know is that no-one knocked between 8 and 9am and there were the bins, all stacked up. You know what else is amazing? They have never once forgotten something in my order. The one time there was a mistake, it was my fault. Somehow I ordered 3 bunches of 5 bananas. It was right there on my list. If only I had noticed sooner.

Enough about my grocery bliss. I am home with a cold, and I think it is the first time ever that I have been home sick and wish I was at work. This is definitely a head cold. Mentally I feel fine. Raring to go, really, and here I am, stuck at home so I don't pass this on to my co-workers or patrons.

There has been a lot going on lately. Talks of cutting hours in the library, professional development opportunities (a webinar spot in early January and a panel spot later in January), a blog post controversy--not here, obviously, but over there and over there. Can't figure it out? That's good. You shouldn't be able to. We are actually working things out to every one's satisfaction, it seems.

I have been holding off on picking the last of the tomatoes--there are a lot of them, really--but I can feel how cold it is getting at night, and if I don't pick them today, there might not be a tomorrow. I wonder if anyone would notice if I wandered over there in my jammies?

What else will I do today? Probably sip tea and read The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. This book is worth staying home. It is YA, but adults will love it, too.

And I guess that according to the new FTC rules, I should mention that I got this book from the library...

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Saturday, October 03, 2009

Take the Survey, Do Something Proactive

Dear Seattle friends, please take this neighborhood survey on library value. It has been crafted by the Friends of the Seattle Public Library.

Also, look here for ways that you can do something about the proposed reduction in branch operating hours at the Seattle Public Libraries for 2010. For more information on the proposed cuts, click here.

rant/ People who post uneducated slander as comments on the Stranger's Slog really annoy me. They obviously have no idea what they are talking about. Thank goodness there are plenty of people out there who do, so they can educate the others. The problem is, those making the stupid comments often don't listen. /rant

Thank you!

On a lighter note, I have really been enjoying the discussions that our Banned Books display are provoking. One gentleman was very upset that we had wrapped the Koran in string. We explained that it was a symbol for censorship and that the book was damaged or wouldn't have been used for the display. He seemed happy with that explanation. Another woman asked why anyone would want to ban The Color Purple. We had a lively discussion about people (in the "they" sense) wanting to protect others against racism and how if you take away all the books that talk about something "bad" it leaves the future open to repeating the past.

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