rockinlibrarian: (rebecca)
This year is the first in ...nine?... that I'm not starting the One Book activities manual writing this month, and I find myself curiously discomforted by this.

It had started pre-kids, while I was working at the Children's Museum, and the Museum had been asked to supply an activities manual to go with an activities trunk for the brand-new PA One Book Every Young Child program, and the Educational Director, having just discussed the Museum's circulating book collection with me since I was in fact an MLIS at that point (even though I was working the floor of a Children's Museum), suddenly looked at me and asked, "Hey, can you write?"

For most of this past almost-decade I didn't even count this as really writing, because I wasn't writing stories from my imagination. That awful voice in my head kept taunting me about NOT WRITING, even though I wasn't just writing, and publishing, but getting PAID for it. I admit I got a kick out of filling in Schedule C-EZ lines A and B of the taxes each year, because the IRS didn't care that I didn't feel like a "real" writer. Writing was what I'd been paid to do, so "Writer, Activity Manual, Business Code 711510" is what I was. I just didn't appreciate it until I didn't have it anymore.

I keep thinking of my writing process for One Book. How I'd feel all proud of myself for color-coding my notes and putting activity ideas in order like I'd done something impressive. How I'd keep getting distracted but I'd make myself work, in little pockets, "Okay you can check Twitter again AFTER you finish this paragraph!" How I'd take drafts of pages with me to work on in bits while waiting to pick up Maddie from preschool. As weird as it sounds, I MISS that. I miss HAVING something to work with, to work TOWARD.

And I now realize that I WAS working, to an extent, like a real writer. The ones I follow on Twitter, speaking of Twitter, are always talking about these little tricks they use to get the work done. It makes it seem like a chore, but I realize how much I enjoyed it now that, well, I don't have anybody counting on me to get the work turned in.

Because I could easily adapt those techniques to working on my own stories. But without that external motivation, the committee saying "We need the manual activities by this date!" --I mean, that's the only problem. It's so easy for That Voice to tell me that nobody CARES whether I write MY stories. But if I COULD, if I could ignore the Lone Power long enough to work on writing other things the way I worked on One Book-- I see now that it IS POSSIBLE. Tomorrow school starts. Tomorrow I'll have five afternoons a week-- okay, three, I work two of those-- with NO ONE ELSE to distract me. No one else but me. But if it's my JOB to get SOMETHING on paper/screen, I don't know, maybe I have a chance.

Because I also realize that my freaking out over the past few years, worrying that I'm no longer a writer or I don't want to be one anymore or I CAN'T be one anymore or I'm just stuck on old dreams that no longer apply-- I realize that I was stressing over nothing. Well, almost nothing. I still have creativity blockages and motivational issues and whatnot, but my basic identity as a writer is so ingrained that I can't even dream at night without my dream self attempting to write everything down as it happens and plotting out how I could adapt what I see into a proper story. My dream self knows exactly what I am, and tells other people in the dream that. "I'm a writer."

This morning my husband, the one who doesn't get the point of art, the one who's completely jaded to the concept of Following Ones Dreams and Finding Ones Purpose, he was chattering about a new RPG campaign he and his best friend wanted to start-- as I've said before, they "meet" to game over Skype, and they like me to play too because it's more fun with at least three people. He was encouraging me with character generation ideas when he said, "See, I'm hoping thinking about this might inspire you to help you get back into your own writing." He said that? My clueless husband? I started to cry and ran over immediately to hug him. He worried that his description of his post-apocalyptic game-world had freaked me out. But I was just relieved.

I really am running out of excuses not to write.
rockinlibrarian: (sherlock)
The other day as I was trying to teach my 5yo-on-Saturday the finer points of weeding (the garden. As opposed to the library. This gets confusing in certain circles), I remembered how, recently, someone (I forget who) had warned me, "You know when you weed dandelions, you have to get the WHOLE ROOT, or they'll come back," and I remembered feeling slightly bewildered and a little offended that they seemed to think this was news to me. Yeah. That's basics. I've known that since I was a kid. I'm teaching that to my five year old right now. I hadn't said anything at the time, just nodded politely in my usual way, but now I wondered, as I knelt digging contentedly as I've done every spring for decades, if that was part of the problem. I DON'T really say what I know, do I?

Which makes sense, really. Especially in that situation-- is there really any point to do anything other than nod politely? But there was now a voice in my head saying, "Hey, you actually DO know a bit about gardening, don't you? You're not a beginner anymore." Sure, I'm not an expert, either. I'm open to learning more-- excited, even. But I've so internalized how utterly ignorant I am-- in every aspect of life-- that even I have started to believe that I don't know ANYTHING ABOUT ANYTHING. And with the amount of stuff I hold inside in public, it's no wonder if other people have no clue how much I know about things, either.

I've been turning this over in my head since then, feeling like I needed to blog it, but even now I can't quite sort it out enough to explain it. In a sense, I've always known way more than I let on. When I was a kid it was social stuff, gossip, pop culture that I absorbed silently, going unnoticed by those who whispered around me and assumed I was just naive to it all. There were a select few, in marching band, in high school, who suddenly realized EXACTLY HOW MUCH STUFF I might have written in my ever-present journals, and they viewed me in kind of amused awe/fear, and I smiled in amused wickedness, and I let the implication of my blackmail power simmer there happily. But normally, I felt a little conflicted about it. I'M NOT CLUELESS! I wanted the world to know, but at the same time, what was I going to DO? I didn't want to take PART in the gossip, or FANGIRL over the pop culture I wasn't particularly interested in (but I KNEW about it, sheez). ACADEMICS, on the other hand, I couldn't hide. I was good at taking tests. That was pretty obvious. Teachers handed out assignments, I aced them, repeat as necessary-- I KNEW stuff. And I didn't care if people knew I knew THOSE things, because they WANTED me to. That's why teachers GAVE tests. To see if we knew those things. And I did.

But adulthood-- people don't give you standardized tests anymore. Nobody's asking what I know. So I'm not offering it up. Anything. Which IS a problem, because people ARE still grading you. It's just the test is so open-ended you don't even realize you're taking it most of the time. My work evaluations, consistently, for the past seven years I've worked at this library, have been low in one area-- communication. I've gotten better about it over time-- I keep better notes, report my schedule better, the basics of what I do are on the record. But when the director sends me and the other children's/YA programming folks articles about STEM programs and even for gosh sake One Book (a program I WRITE for, for ye uninitiated), and asks if we could be doing anything like such, and my coworkers sigh and say "Oh no, I have enough stuff to do," I blink. And then I say, "Yes, I'm doing that next week/I did that last Thursday/I do that every Monday." And it occurs to me that maybe I ought to be talking my programs up more...?

The problem is, without anyone pulling what I know and can do out of me at the end of every unit, I've even started fooling MYSELF into believing that I don't know anything special. I didn't even notice it was happening-- well, I DID notice that I felt utterly incompetent, but I believed it unquestioningly. NOW I'm AWARE that, hey, my brain has been playing tricks on me, and I'm muddled trying to sort it all out. Where is the line, I ask myself, between Owning What You Know and Acknowledging That You Don't Know Everything? It isn't a line, myself replies, it's a freakin' plane, there's tons of variation on this spectrum that you can hang out in. Really? I ask myself again. I can't find the plane. When I think of what I know-- "Hey, I am highly knowledgeable about children's literature!"-- this other voice pops in and says, "But there are other people who know MORE about children's literature than you do!" and instead of accepting this as an inevitable truth and moving on with what I DO know, I use this to negate whatever I knew instead. Who am I to claim that I know ANYTHING?! So I end up paralyzed by self-doubt.* It's writer's block, but it goes beyond writing into the rest of my life. LIFE BLOCK.

But it's also cheating. Laziness. Dodging responsibility. Don't get me wrong, I don't do it CONSCIOUSLY. It's such a deeply embedded Type 9 psychological tic that I never would have found it if I hadn't been trying to sort this all out. The OBVIOUS problem is the lack of confidence in my own competence. But when I dig deeper, that lack of confidence comes from this part of me that says, "I DON'T WANT TO! I DON'T WANT TO ACCEPT THAT I HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE DECISIONS, TO ACT RESPONSIBLY, TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE! I WANT SOMEONE ELSE TO TAKE CARE OF EVERYTHING! I DON'T WANT TO BE A GROWNUP!"

But I'm NOT incompetent, and I know that very well. I have a working knowledge of many things-- WORKING knowledge. Meaning I should be able to work with it. But I won't ALLOW myself to work with it, claiming that I don't know ENOUGH because I don't know EVERYTHING. But I'm just dodging the work I'm perfectly capable of, the work I was put on this planet to accomplish, whatever that is. I know I'm dodging it even if I'm not entirely sure what I'm dodging. I'm pretending my gifts don't exist, or at least don't exist anymore (I was pretty smart back in the day...), or may exist but are meaningless and of no use to anyone. But it's an act. It's all an act because I'm afraid to face whatever Great Responsibilities might come if I acknowledge that I really DO have Great Power.

So what next? I'm not used to it. I'm not used to acknowledging that I've got Skillz. I haven't the slightest idea how to start. Heck, I still have to talk myself into WANTING to, into WANTING to be the person I'm capable of being. It's so comfortable being lazy, being invisible, letting the world just happen around me. How do you get OUT of that comfy little rut?

---

*this is an old private joke with myself. It's a line from an episode of Bill Nye the Science Guy about how snakes are never PARALYZED BY SELF-DOUBT even though they don't have legs, so I always say it in my head in a Bill Nye voice, and will use it wherever it works. Like here.
rockinlibrarian: (librarians)
OR...not really. I mean wouldn't it be great if I got paid to keep a household fed and clothed and generally functional? Well, maybe I do, if you count Jason making more than me (he makes more in two weekends than I make in a month SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY AND EARMARK IT FOR EMPLOYEE WAGES *ahem*) and say maybe he's technically paying me for that? It sounds so chauvinistic when you put it that way though. But so far no one's paying me to read blogs, do yoga, indulge in inappropriate daydreams involving Martin Freeman, or sing loudly to the radio and/or the DVD the kids are watching and/or the Muzak in the grocery store (which technically isn't Muzak, but that's easier to say than "streaming light rock/adult contemporary playing over the loudspeaker"), at all. I even have to pay for the yoga twice a week.

NO, I just mean I feel like MYSELF doing the things I DO get paid for, possibly At Last. I was originally hired at our local library as a very-part-time reference librarian/circulation clerk (which, if you ask most of the board, translates strictly as "just plain circulation clerk which anyone off the street can do"-- which is totally not true! You'd be shocked how many volunteers find even circ and shelving duties beyond them!), and I've gradually wormed my way into more hours and much more time and a bit more influence in the Children's Department, but my specific duties there were never quite made CLEAR. I occasionally did programs, but pretty much on my own whim. I suggested books to be purchased, then waited for them not to actually be purchased. I put most of my librarian skillz into book displays, and those joyous moments when people actually asked me for help beyond "where's the bathroom?" and "can you put me on the computer?" Because dangit, I'm an awesome reference/reader's advisory librarian (at least in the children's/YA sections).

But lately I've gotten Duties-- CLEAR YOUTH SERVICES LIBRARIAN Duties. Two mornings a week I drive around to various area daycares with bags of books, read a couple, tell them about the rest, bring the bag from two weeks ago home. To the Library, not my house. Two evenings a week I lead programs-- the same I did last spring, an elementary-age hands-on STEAM program basically and a Family storytime-- which have been getting bigger turnouts all the time. And in between I am IN CHARGE. OF THE CHILDREN'S. AND YA. COLLECTIONS. I control the Weeding AND the Ordering! I am officially NOT scheduled for circulation but I help there anyway, especially with reference questions. Just this week I realized I need to start delegating tasks-- asking OTHER people to work on the displays, make copies, do some basic weeding, things I would have done myself before but now I no longer have TIME.

Is there anything that makes you feel more like a grownup than being able to tell other people what to do and have them take you seriously?

Actually, it's just been working GREAT. Since I've gotten clear job duties that happen to be in my areas of expertise, I've been thriving. My insecurities, immaturities, and slothful tendencies melt away when I'm working. Except the telephone. I still hate calling people on the phone. But I'm way more likely to make myself DO it at work! (Also, ANSWERING the phone at work is not a problem at all. I am ALL about professional reference librarianness THERE). I sweep into the daycares with confidence and greet a sea of excited faces calling my visit the highlight of the fortnight (assuming any of them would USE the word "fortnight"). The in-house programs end with laughter and joyful thank-yous from parents and children. I'm professional and open and pointedly questioning with book vendors, I find the best options for our library and our budget, I've GOT collection development DOWN.

Gracious, folks. Could it be I'm finally living MY VOCATION IN LIFE?

But what does that mean, says the quiet, worried confused voice inside my head, for the vocation you THOUGHT you had, from way back in your childhood? Maybe your story-loving has found its place in your life, and you don't need to be a writer after all? But it's kind of a silly worry, when "librarian" has to be one of if not THE most common day jobs of authors everywhere, and has been pulled off spectacularly by everyone from Beverly Cleary to Megan McDonald.*

And SECONDLY, as I mused in my latest Lycoris letter, on the topic of "Why do we write?" -- it's only my FICTION that I haven't been writing. And even then I still chip away at this bit of Firefly fanfiction** I've been working on for years, and there's a draft of an early chapter book I managed to come out with a few months back, and the other day I at least started PONDERING how to turn an interesting dream I'd had into a SF story with Deep Social Commentary, which isn't the same as WRITING but at least puts to lie the voice in my head that says I don't even have anything to write ABOUT. But I was WRITING A LETTER. Right now I'm writing a blog post. I write EVERYTHING in my journal.

AND, to get back to the title of this post, I've started again on my annual Actually Getting Paid to Write project, the activities for Pennsylvania One Book Every Young Child (which you will hear me refer to simply as "One Book" in everyday speech, but there are many programs called "One Book" so I'll be more specific this once). This is my ninth year working on it, but I think it's finally sunk in that, YES, I am writing professionally, and I'm quite capable of it.

So the tl;dr of this is: I'm writing this post to let you know that if I seem to fall off the face of the Internet for the next few months-- not posting here much, trying to avoid Twitter (which is hard!), missing your own fascinating blog posts until weeks later if I see them at all-- it is only because I am SUPER BUSY being Moderately Successful In My Professional Life for once. And the usual hanging-in-there busyness of my home life, still. So, come visit me at the library! Or at least feel free to occasionally comment on old posts here, send me hellos or things-that-remind-you-of-me on Facebook or Twitter, or email me if you do that. Or REAL PAPER LETTERS! I'm all about them. (You can even TELEPHONE! Just don't expect me to ever call YOU). Just don't forget me, and know that my apparent absence is in no way related to me being tired of YOU.

---

*If you haven't heard me mention it before, Megan McDonald was the children's librarian at my big public library growing up. But I TOTALLY DIDN'T KNOW IT until after she stopped working there. Or I just never saw her because she never worked Saturdays, which is the only time I was there. Or something. Anyway, the young budding author that I was never got to take advantage of the THEORETICAL MENTOR RIGHT THERE because she wasn't.

**Speaking of which, guys, I just saw this news last night, a week late, and... do you know how STUPIDLY RELIEVED I am to hear about Zoe? Obviously it's just something to make the fans feel better, I mean WHAT A COINCIDENCE, but I don't CARE, it EASES MY SUFFERING to know that at least one little "at least" is canon! ALLOW ME TO FEEL FEELS ABOUT FICTIONAL CHARACTERS, thanks.
rockinlibrarian: (sherlock)
I have made a lot of progress with One Book this week, so it's time to take a break and mess around on the Internet. And TWO PEOPLE posted SURVEYS yesterday. What timing! Anymore YEARS can go by without those surveys, those surveys I was so addicted to once. I think they happen a lot on Tumblr anymore, but as I've said, Tumblr bewilders me.

So, Two Surveys
Two Surveys Under the Cut In Case You Don't Care About Surveys )
rockinlibrarian: (librarians)
My computer time has been taken up by all sorts of interesting projects lately, which is why I haven't posted anything in a week and a half for you Friends-locked types and even longer for you average reader types (who I think are more likely to be reading than the Friends-locked types are anyway).

At home I've again begun the Activity Guide for One Book, Every Young Child, the actual professional writing gig of my life, until I get my head screwed on long enough to write real fiction again. This year's One Book, secret sneak peak, involves SNORING OTTERS. Therefore I've spent the past week working through my traditional prewriting strategy for One Book, which if I was [livejournal.com profile] lisayee I would illustrate with pictures of every step but I'm too lazy:

1. Open last year's Guide file and find and replace the old title with the new title, the old author with the new author, and "2011" with "2012." Save As "2012 manual." Feel productive.

2. Copy all of my notes onto a large sheet of art paper into wavy columns by type of activity and in different colored markers by primary standards subject.

3. Immediately copy THOSE notes onto separate sheets of paper per activity. Somehow in this process though the notes have become organized and make sense.

4. Look up otters on the Internet.

5. Watch videos of otters on YouTube.

And this is how far I've gotten in the process. Curiously, this process makes me feel an awful lot like a real author.

Meanwhile, at work I took it upon myself to compile a calendar of Fictional Character Birthdays. I found quite a few, but surprisingly less than I know must exist. SOMEHOW, no one has done this properly yet. There are plenty of links of birthdays to even the more minor characters in the Harry Potter and Twilight universes, but books without recent Internet-based fandoms? Honestly, there hasn't been SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE geeky enough to compile something like this before? Obviously, I am that person. I'm just a bit too busy for rereading every book in the world on the off-chance that a character's birthdate might be mentioned. I KNOW, for example, that Anne Shirley's birthday is in mid-March, but I can't remember quite when (I keep thinking of a date that I know is the birthday of the guy I was madly in love with in high school, which I doubt is actually it). And I COULD very well go look it up myself, but I know I'd get sucked into the book, and I am STILL only two-thirds of the way through Fly Trap, and it's now overdue at the Other-Library-Meaning-I-Can't-Waive-My-Own-Fees-Myself-On-It... so I won't. Go look it up myself.

So after awhile I started collecting author birthdays instead.

But there I was minding my own business when another literary birthday I'd been searching for about half the past year suddenly fell into my lap. Or, Facebook feed. Yes, I have officially found the original publication date for A Wrinkle in Time: March 9, 1962.

I had about given up, but giving up gave me a brilliant idea: I have hereby dubbed 2012 "The Year of the Tesseract" at Amy's Library of ROCK. I will devote the whole YEAR to celebrating the 50th anniversary of A Wrinkle in Time! I have plans for a whole long series of posts, possibly to go up every week or every other week or whenever I don't have anything better to post! I may have to create a special userpic to use! I am so excited about these potential posts-- I already have a list of about fifteen topics and will always be open to more-- that I want to start writing them RIGHT NOW, only I still have four months before we even get to the Year of the Tesseract, and also I'm supposed to be working on One Book.

BUT, the discovery of an ACTUAL PROPER BIRTHDAY means-- PARTY AT THE LIBRARY! With refreshments like hot cocoa obviously (I might skip the liverwurst sandwiches), and maybe a cake, but a wrinkled cake (if you push the sides of the cake together, the bug on the ONE side is now ALREADY ON THE OTHER SIDE! ALSO YOUR CAKE IS MESSY!), and possibly a Jello mold in the shape of IT, because that would just be appetizing. The thing is I don't think I could pull it off if I advertised it as STRICTLY devoted to A Wrinkle in Time, so I think what it will really be about is celebrating ones Very Favorite Books, the books you adore passionately-- and this is my example hence me throwing a birthday party for it. But everyone else could participate by sharing reviews and stories about THEIR Ultimate Favorite Books, and everyone could come in costume dressed as someone from their favorite book. I could so totally pull off Mrs Whatsit. It would be early March, so I wouldn't have to worry about being overheated. I'd do Mrs Who but the optometrist actually refuses to sell me glasses like that.

One thing I need to start doing, now that I have my literary calendar, is planning my monthly-or-perhaps-more-than-that Family Night parties here for the REST of the year besides March 9. This is the only thing available for elementary kids during the school year. The tricky part is finding a day for these things that ACTUALLY DOESN'T CONFLICT with everything ELSE all the elementary kids are doing in the evenings.

Speaking of school, because I feel I have to include this somewhere in this week's post, I am now the mother of an official preschooler. A child who gets DROPPED OFF three times a week to spend 2 1/2 hours AWAY FROM ME WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT HIS BLOOD RELATIONS. It's an odder sensation than I expected it to be. But I can't tell you much how HE'S handling it because he tends to answer every question about it with "I don't know." But while he is not bubbling over with excitement, he's not frightened and traumatized either, so it seems to be going okay.

First day of school, we got to come in and hang out for awhile. But this preschool is in the local K-8 Catholic school, so it's under your typical elementary school lockdown, and we all had to wear "visitor" badges and be escorted at all times. So there I was being escorted and feeling like the newbie parent I was, when suddenly a chorus of excited "HI, MISS AMY!!"s erupted from the line of second graders across the hall.

Because of course I'm not just a strange visitor to the school after all. I'm also the public librarian. And this makes me... FAMOUS.

Rock.
rockinlibrarian: (librarians)
One Book guide is up! I am so brain-dead that I can't even tell what parts I wrote and what was changed since I sent it off. But nothing is glaring out at me with messed-up page breaks or extraneous commas this year, so I don't feel embarrassed at least. Also the pictures are pretty awesome, except that it looks like most of the pictures didn't make it into the online version, just the version I got sent in person today. Ah well. I'm just a bit excited by the pictures because I can see that the kids are clearly having fun doing activities that I wrote, so that's nice.
rockinlibrarian: (christmas)
As you can see I have changed my userpic default to the annual ChristmasBabyAmy, although it occurs to me that from now on I might need to point out that that IS in fact BabyAmy and not CurrentMadeleine, who isn't quite that big yet/have hair that long yet anyway, as I'm guessing I was probably TWO and a half for that picture. But I can see how it might become easy to make that mistake. (It also occurs to me that my most recent default userpic was NineteenMonthsAgoMadeleine, so I should probably go for a new one after this).

Anyway, I just got on here because I've just installed a new mouse, which is my early Christmas present to myself-- or maybe it's a right-on-time Hannukah present-- or maybe it's from Jason to me, seeing as it all comes out of the same bank account, and he basically said "Would you PLEASE just buy a new mouse already! I am getting sick of you yelling at that one!" Because my old mouse liked to double-click whenever I just wanted it to click. I played with the settings, but it wouldn't stop, which always put me places I didn't want to be on the web, but was REALLY annoying whenever I'd try to highlight something, and it would then immediately UNhighlight whatever I'd just tried to highlight, which was a real pain doing One Book, because that involved so much copying and cutting and pasting, massive replacement edits, and cross-referencing online. Of course, I just turned in One Book on Sunday. And NOW I have a new mouse.

Anyway, it's quite nice. It's optical. The little wheel thing in the middle rolls very smoothly. The only thing I haven't figured out yet is I'm used to opening links in new tabs by clicking the wheel, but when I click this wheel it for some reason minimizes the window instead. I think I'm going to have to play with the settings...

That's all. You may now return to your regularly scheduled Friendslist/Feedreader/Whatever.
rockinlibrarian: (l-space)
I have to share my obsession of the past week: The YA Fantasy Showdown. And I mean "obsession" in the clinical meaning of the word, when you, for no sensible reason, CAN'T GET THE THOUGHT OF IT OUT OF YOUR HEAD, when you lie in bed at night pondering match-ups and creating increasingly complex scenarios to see if that changes who has the upper-hand. IT IS RIDICULOUS. But it is a lot of fun and a great way to get book conversations going cross-fandoms, and every time some dumb kid (because I'm such a supportive and respectful librarian) made a comment that they Hated So-and-So-that-they've-never-read-the-book-about because they beat So-and-So-Whose-book-they-love, it made me sad, but then somebody would make a "hey, I've never heard of So-and-So, but they're COOL!" comment and my librarian heart was mollified.

And finally, today, they've posted the final battle, and it's THE BEST THING EVER. That I've read on the Internet. That was written hastily in a matter of hours. This month. (It's cool, they actually incorporated, as a large portion of it, the prediction I made of what would happen yesterday: if you read the comments on the Katsa-vs-Howl battle, you'll see what I said towards the bottom of the first page; and part of me is flattered that they used my little outline there, and the other part of me responds to the first part "WELL DUH. BECAUSE THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT WOULD HAPPEN. IT COULDN'T NOT HAPPEN LIKE THAT." Don't you just love how fictional characters take on lives of their own? Especially these two). Anyway, I thought it was fall-down hilarious, though I don't know how great it is if you haven't read all books in question (and for goodness sakes, I just TOLD you to read ONE of the two series less than a month ago! See, I was RIGHT and stuff!) Now, I know if you really had your heart set on voting on any of these match-ups, I've obviously posted this too late, and this last one is only going to be open a few more hours. But if you see this before 9 (Eastern) and would like to vote, I recommend voting for... whoever's behind. To get them as close to a tie as possible. Because it's the only way my heart can handle it. See, logically I've been saying from the beginning that Gen should take the whole competition on the basis that he NEVER EVER LOSES; and I'll admit I never expected Howl to get so far on the basis that he WOULDN'T CARE ENOUGH TO PUT HIMSELF IN DANGER, but now that they're actually facing each other... I can't pick. VOTE FOR A TIE OR I'LL CRY! Or maybe not.

In similar recommendations, I just picked up a picture book I've been wanting to see as I was helping a patron find something else, and coincidentally it's on the exact same subject, and I just read it here at the desk in the past two minutes and DID laugh out loud even though I am at work in front of patrons, so now I'm going to tell you to go find Shark vs. Train by Chris Barton because it is THE BEST THING EVER. That is a picture book. That I've read for the first time in the past month.

In personal news, I completely lost track of the calendar once Summer Reading ended, so completely forgot I had a One Book meeting this morning until TEN MINUTES BEFORE, and though it worked out all right because I emailed in my own ideas and I'm going to get all the other ideas emailed back to me, I actually was really looking forward to it! It's not often I get to hang out with OTHER CHILDREN'S LIBRARIANS IN REAL LIFE. It makes me feel mildly less insane!

And on the homefront, Sam is potty training. He's actually got really good at not having accidents of the wet variety very quickly. He also seemed to be mastering not having accidents of the solid variety either, only it turns out that at least twice he actually deposited that in the potty AFTER the fact. So I don't know about that after all. But for someone who's only just started (because I've been running around too much this summer to take it seriously), I'm pretty impressed.
rockinlibrarian: (hi maddie)
Summer Reading Club is drawing to a close, but One Book Every Young Child is starting up again (for new followers who actually know what One Book Every Young Child IS and are like, "wait, isn't that a SPRING program?" it is: I'm just one of the people involved in the planning stages. I wrote the manuals that came with the trunks. Except this year we're probably doing bags instead of trunks, or something completely different that way, so my role is also changing slightly).

Meaning, please forgive me, I will continue to be a not-all-that-frequent blogger, as my computer time is further compromised. I really need a laptop, or at least a computer that's not in the not-childsafe room. I hate having to work all my computer time into when-kids-are-in-bed time, because it inevitably becomes the ONLY thing I accomplish when kids are in bed, and there are other things that are easier to do when the kids are in bed, whereas I can do computer stuff with kids alert and around me... just not in the Book Room where it is now.

I am spreading myself thin lately, but am not sure what needs to go....
rockinlibrarian: (christmas)
You know how sometimes people on your friends list post about stuff going on in their life, and all of a sudden you think "Wait a minute? Since when were they working THERE? Since when were they dating HIM/HER? Since when???" And then you wonder how you could have missed all that seemingly pretty standard information, but somehow you feel too ashamed to ask for clarification because it seems like info you should already know? It happens to all of us sometimes.

Please copy the topics below, erase my answers and put yours in their place, and then post it in your journal! Please elaborate on the questions that would benefit from elaboration. One-Word-Answers seldom help anyone out. :)



1. First Name: Amy, as you see I have now added to the Official Title Of This LiveJournal, so I can hardly be secretive about it anymore, can I? (Of course, if you're reading this on Facebook, my full name is glaring at you anyway. I'm writing this from LiveJournal, so that's the context I'm thinking of).

2. Age: 31. And two-thirds? Is that what you mean by elaboration?

3. Location: One half hour south of Pittsburgh in the Land of Perry Como

4. Occupation: Predominantly, Mom, and everything else household related that that involves. Nine hours a week, reference librarian. I'm a youth services librarian by training and degree, but now I just get to be really excited when somebody actually asks me about books in the kids or YA sections instead of the adult section, which I'm more clueless about. On a work-for-hire basis I annually write an activity manual related to a picture book for Pennsylvania's One Book Every Young Child project, which, for this coming year, I just finished the first complete draft of this weekend, whoohoo. I would like to say I am also an author of fiction books for children and teens, but I spend very little of my time in this fashion at the moment.

5. Partner: I don't know, Megan, I agree saying "partner" DOES sound pretentious even for relationships that don't take to traditional spousal titles (and makes talking about ones BUSINESS partners strangely complicated), but still, you have to admit it's a very accurate description of the role we're talking about. Anyway, my answer is this guy named Jason. He works two jobs, one of which is weekends and holidays, so he literally never gets a day off, but honestly? I secretly think he's happier now, because he USED to work two jobs all on the SAME day, so we only ever SAW each other on weekends.

6. Kids: Sam is 2 1/2, Madeleine is 7 months. Most people use code-names for their kids online unfriendslocked, but looking at those two names kind of says too much not to point it out. I didn't think about it as I named each of them, but looking at BOTH of them, well, it really does point to my innate fantasy-fiction geekitude, doesn't it? I mean I could have named ONE child after, like, a relative or something, couldn't I've?

7. Siblings: I have a [livejournal.com profile] magnolia___ who is six years younger than me, and Dan who is ten years younger. Maggie is famous for being a flaky friendly hippie freak, Danny for being Obsessed with cartoons. I also have a sis-in-law (as in related to husband) named Bethany and a bro-in-law (as in married to sister) named Zeke. The former is famous for giving me a piano soon and the latter for teaching me how monkeys peel bananas, which is amazingly stress-saving.

8. Pets: I don't have any if you don't count my husband and kids. My parents have a terrier mix named Daisy and my inlaws have two big yellow mixes named Ajax and Nike. Ajax has three legs. Sam loves them all (the dogs, not necessarily Ajax's legs) and calls them each by name and even talks about them when they aren't around.

9. List the 3-5 biggest things going on in your life:

* It is Advent! So I am all about getting into Christmas! For some reason, the rest of the year I'm a terrible housekeeper, but the thought "I can't put up Christmas decorations until this place gets cleaned up!" suddenly turns me into a cleaning machine and I get EVERYTHING done, even stuff that has nothing to do with decorating, and I do it quickly and cheerfully! It doesn't work with anything else. I've tried. I can SAY "I can't read a book until the house is clean," but this is too easily countered with "SURE I can, watch me do it right now!" Anyway, the house is clean and all that remains is to get stuff out of the attic, but that requires the two adults of the house to be home at the same time. Tuesday evening.

* So on Thanksgiving J squeaked done with his holiday job early and we rushed off to my aunt's house and arrived EXACTLY in time for dinner. The crowd was huge, nearing fifty people-- there were people there I'd never met and some I STILL don't know. Sam had so much fun chasing after the big kids and Reese (who's his age), and Maddie even didn't find anything to scream about. Plus the food was good, but no kidding.

* Maddie's pulling herself to standing all over the place and keeps trying to let go. What is this with me and my athletic children? She's also refusing to nap for any decent amount of time before screaming and screaming.

* So yeah, I've finished One Book for the year excepting some editing sessions and the insertion of pictures, which means, well, I've got a ton of other stuff to do (much of it Christmas related and so I can't mention it here), but I ought to sit down and seriously work on some of my new creative writing ideas, too. I've got a couple things that might be picture books eventually if I can figure out how to write a picture book properly, and one novel idea I'm quite excited about but is very much in the simmering-some-possibilities stages still. Also I keep meaning to ask Jason for help with the big issue Bruce Coville pointed out in the first chapter of Ian et al, because it's actually right up his nefarious-gamemaster/guy-who-scopes-out-the-defenses alley, and it should have occurred to me to ask him before. But I'm rarely thinking of this during the times we're actually home at the same time.

* Books take up way too much of my brain, so they count as one of the biggest things going on in my life, because they feel that way in my brain. For example, I finally got the second Hunger Games book last week, and this proved to be just as obsessive-making as the first, if suffering from a few awkward writing and second-book-fault moments that are deemed who-cares-able by the obsessiveness of it all. It was quite exciting for me, thank you very much.

* Oh, and finally, I'm getting a PIANO sometime soon! It's like an early Christmas gift from my sister-in-law (who currently owns it in her house), mother-in-law (who is tracking down the piano movers) and parents (who are paying for said piano movers). It's going in the living room! I can play it! My kids can pound on it and eventually learn to play! I can put stuff on top of it! That's all.

That's also six things. Oh well.

10. Parents: My parents, and I've said this before but it bears repeating, are Good People. As an adult it's disappointing and mildly depressing to discover how rare people like my parents ARE in the real world-- people who are intelligent yet fun-loving, who are genuinely kind and friendly and loving. I still feel unworthy. I need to work harder at being Awesome so I can be like them for the world.

11. Some of your closest friends are: Unfortunately, to continue the last sentence, I'm such a hopeless introvert that I'd probably cluelessly stay wrapped up in my own head if you let me, such that of the people I would name as My Closest Friends, the only one I can truthfully name as an ACTIVE friend I actually, like, do regular Friend Stuff with is the one I live with (and even with him Friend Stuff only occasionally interrupts the Practical Stuff). The others I occasionally email/blogcomment and see in person once or twice or occasionally three times a year, and are more People I Will Always Love Because They HAVE Been My Closest Friends Before. Of those, Angie, my best friend from high school and college, stands out the most, because she is Completely Awesome. Also of note is Molly from middle/high school, and from college Tracie Liz Becky Jen and Emily, and Megan and Randy (the latter actually talks to my husband on the phone like DAILY, but I don't), and that's what sticks out. There's also my sister I GUESS. :)

'Kay then. I've given the old livejournal a personal slant again.
rockinlibrarian: (hi maddie)
Today for my short ornery post I can't think of anything in particular to write, so I might just repoint you to my post of my old favorite books I did last week, since obviously some of you have forgotten to read it, and Jessie responded thinking it was an Old post, so maybe I should remind everyone that I do not consider it an old post and would not at all think you were weird if you responded to it now.

I could try working on my Additional Resources list for One Book some more I suppose, but this is an annoying chore, because apparently publishers don't feel the need to keep any books that would actually be useful related books to this book in print. :P I found lots of library books that would be great if they were ACTUALLY UP-TO-DATE and IN PRINT. But oh well.

And... that's all I've got.
rockinlibrarian: (l-space)
So I just stumbled upon it and saw that the One Book Every Young Child website has indeed been updated for the Penguin book, and they redesigned it and it looks awesome. At least the main page does. And it is easier to find my Activity Guide than ever. But dude, did they really have to pay NO attention to page breaks when they transferred the file to .pdf form? The utter confusion of it is a bit embarrassing, really. Also, whoever actually line edited my work after I turned it in is ENTIRELY too fond of extraneous commas, which are like my grammar pet peeve! (Example: What I wrote and turned in, page 29: They don't all live at the South Pole-- in fact, no penguins live AT the pole, and only four species of penguins live on the continent of Antarctica at all. Other penguins live in South America, Africa, and Australia. Some even live on the tropical Galapagos Islands! What is in the final product: ...they don't all live at the South Poleā€”in fact, no penguin lives on the Pole itself. With only four species of penguins, who call Antarctica home, other penguins live in South America, Africa, and Australia and even on the tropical Galapagos Islands!) BUT oh well. Once more my work is online for you to browse, just please don't blame me for the editing and formatting problems. :P
rockinlibrarian: (rebecca)
This would be a good opportunity to do a bunch of dumb surveys while I wait the half-hour before closing and there is no one here and nothing left to do, but I have not saved any of the surveys anyone else has done lately and wherever they are, they are not recent enough for me to find on the first two pages of my Friends page, so I'm not slogging beyond that. I suppose an even more productive thing would be to write real stuff.

Speaking of writing real stuff, tomorrow I officially turn in One Book Manual 2009, which is not actually officially because now officially we're calling it a GUIDE instead of a Manual, but anyway, whatever it is I'm turning it in tomorrow at the Museum. I've worked out a plan where I will meet my parents at the Museum so that they and Sam can get a chance to play while I get work done. It doesn't seem fair that Sammy never gets a chance to play there since I don't feel like driving into the city EXTRA times if I already had to come in by myself for a meeting or something, so this sounded like a cool alternative. Literally, though-- it's only going up to, like, 7 degrees with a ridiculous wind chill tomorrow. Perhaps this will mean the Museum is Dead and Sam can have it all to himself. But then, perhaps not. I remember a few days like that where I thought any person who wanted to bundle up their children and head out into the cold just to go to a Museum was crazy and then we'd end up curiously busy. But perhaps this was in the later days of my Sam pregnancy when ANY amount of people seemed Exceedingly Busy because any amount of people would mean that stuff would get on the floor that I would need to attempt to pick up.

Apparently that little girl at the AR computer was watching every time I put the password in for her this evening, because she appears to have put it in herself this time. She keeps looking back at me to grin innocently too. Anyway.

So since One Book is done and my temp library job is done and this library is done with Sunday hours, I now will concentrate on at-home projects. At the moment this means taking down Christmas decorations, but I nearly finished that today, too. Next I think I will sort Sam's toys so we can figure out what needs to go where and what needs to be put away and so on. I may also, theoretically, write for fun. I've decided I'm interested in revisiting my Somewhereorother story, because I don't CARE right now that it is JUST another fairy-tale-kingdom story because all I really need to do is start WRITING again, and the whole worrying-about-marketability thing is probably what got me into this mess in the first place, and I've been in a fairy-tale-kingdom sort of mood lately. I'm going to go put the Rebecca userpic up to commemorate this now. Not that the egg man isn't cool or anything.

They have dug a huge hole in the road across from the next-door neighbors' driveway the past two days, and yesterday the water was shut off most of the day (but they turned it on again in the evening) and today they shut it off in the afternoon (I don't know if it's back yet since I'm not home). This reminds me of Angie being grateful for water.

I also got what turned out to be a large cavity filled yesterday, which of course meant I couldn't chew after, which is not a nice thing to do to a pregnant lady. I decided that they at least sold smoothies at the mall, so we went there and took the opportunity to get Sam a pair of boots. Now he has a snowsuit AND boots, so I can't wait to take him out in the snow. This weekend the temps are supposed to make it back up into the 20s, so I guess we'll go out then.

Tuesday I had a check-up and did the 1-hour glucose test, which is the one where they make you drink what is effectively a large glass of flat orange pop with the absolute highest amount of sugar possible dissolved into it and maybe topped off with some corn syrup for the heck of it in one sitting and then you come back in an hour to get blood drawn to see if your body can actually handle that so meanwhile you are SO HYPED UP ON EXTREME SUGAR WATER for the rest of the day. But otherwise the two of us are just fine, though my due date got pushed 4 days later for some reason.

That's it for now-- it's time to close up.
rockinlibrarian: (Default)
Okay, now for some other junk while I've got some free time.

So, while I was trying to find some info on map projections for One Book (does anybody know the official term for the map projection that I call Orange Slices, with the curved strips, where if you cut it out you could form it into a pretty decent globe?) I stumbled upon this educational site of online geography games and became very preoccupied for quite some time. Totally I'm amazed how much I suck and geography anymore. Granted, geography has changed since I learned it in elementary school, but anyhoo. Go there and test/educate yourself, totally.

In other mildly educational online fun, I decided to play the:

Name 5 fictional characters you really like, whose names start with the letter you're given, and let us know why you like them.

game!

This ought to be really fun. But of course [livejournal.com profile] vovat has gone and assigned me the letter F.

F? Whose name starts with F? There's like five names TOTAL in the english language that start with F, let alone fictional characters I really like. This will require some stretching.

1. Frank Churchill (Emma, Jane Austen). I don't know if I love him so much as that I'm on his side. I think he gets a bum rap as a horrendous flirt and dastardly rake when really he did NOTHING wrong, not to be too spoilery (not that Emma isn't the sort of book that anyone who was GOING to read it hasn't read it already), it was all other people jumping to conclusions that made him LOOK like some kind of playboy or something, while really if you reread carefully you can see exactly where his mind is at all times (this is one of the reasons I LOVE AUSTEN), so he doesn't deserve the censure!
2. Fred Weasley (Harry Potter series, JK Rowling). Of course i could just as easily say George, except that his name doesn't start with F. But I have always loved the Weasley twins. Possibly because Jason would totally be the Weasley twins if he had a twin. And was British and red-headed. And teenaged. Anyway.
3. Fozzie Bear (a Muppet). Because he's incredibly sincere and he generally can bounce back from people hating his jokes pretty easily, at least after the first season of the Muppet Show. And he is usually quite funny when he DOESN'T intend to be as well.
4. Faramir (The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien). I'm totally in love with Faramir, just because he's so noble and unappreciated and he's all romantic with the Maybe I'm not some Perfect Lost King Elf Adoptee but I can still sweep awesome warrior women off their feet eventually deal.
5. Frog (Frog and Toad are Friends, Arnold Lobel). Because he's a good friend. Yeah. Okay, I give up.
rockinlibrarian: (Default)
BOOK PROJECT IS DONE!

So I'm back. Okay, you probably didn't realize I was gone. But, yeah. I did my best to avoid procrastination as deadline loomed, which meant, okay, maybe SKIMMING the friends' page, but not reading in-depth or responding much. So I'VE been away, but you probably didn't notice, because it's not like I post every day to begin with, and unless you were like "how come amy didn't respond to my post when she always comments on junk?" you probably didn't miss my comments, and how could you miss my reading when you don't know it even takes place?

But, all that said, I don't have much more for you, because Sammy got very sick of me being at the computer last week and is still rather angry at me for being here now. So I'll be brief.

The ALA awards for 2008 are announced. This makes me lonely for other people who actually care. I have to find a kid lit community on lj.
rockinlibrarian: (Default)
Poor Sam, he's teething AND reeling from his shots. He's all dazed and cranky and has a slight fever. But at least he's sleeping a lot. ;) By the way, officially at 4 1/2 months he is 15 lbs 2 oz and 25 in long. He's PRACTICING sitting but is by no means an expert at it yet, and I swear he blew me a kiss today, and that's his update.

I on the other hand have successfully typed up an outline for the One Book Manual that is decent enough for Lois to take to her meeting next week. Decent enough, though I AM a little grouchy because I just KNOW there was stuff I had before that I forget now. But anyhoo. I typed it in my email and emailed it to myself for printing elsewhere, if you wondered.

Yesterday I thought I must be cursed or something, because first I thought I broke my sewing machine (actually I'd just threaded it wrong), then I thought I broke JASON'S computer (actually the monitor cord was loose). All is well now I think.

BUT I did go to physical therapy for the first time (yesterday), and that was great because the therapist was the first person to figure out what's wrong with my back and actually sound like she knows what she's talking about! What a relief to know I'm not actually being eaten from within by an undetectible-by-modern-medicine virus! No, it's just the scoliosis-that-the-school-nurse-told-me-with-disconcerting-seriousness-back-in-8th-or-9th-grade-was-not-currently-dangerous-or-anything-but-might-cause-me-problems-down-the-road-and-I-ought-to-be-aware-of-it having finally gotten down the road to the intersection of Giving Birth, so the combination of hormonally-softened ligaments and overstretched ab muscles on an already unstable support results in, well, the exact symptoms I've been having off and on since December. So that doesn't FIX anything but it's good to know. And I get physical therapy for it, so maybe that WILL fix things.

And that's all I have as an update right now. But here's a survey I got off [livejournal.com profile] iamdamanda and managed of course to throw extra stuff into because I'm ornery:
how have you changed? )

Peachy

Jul. 3rd, 2007 10:46 am
rockinlibrarian: (Default)
Hey, I just had an AWESOME PEACH. I didn't realize they were in season quite enough yet to be as good as all that. Granted it wasn't quite ripe when I bought it on Saturday, but it's been in a brown paper bag since. I was excited by how awesome it was. Bad peaches are so sucky, but good peaches rock the world.

I did productiveness this morning, ie, I started on next year's One Book project (Up, Down, and Around by Pittsburgher Katherine Ayres --which basically means I brainstormed some possible activities, but still, it was productive. This book really lends itself to activities. I might enlist the aid of you composers out there (how many composers do I have on my friends list? Three? Four even? You guys are a talented bunch) to help set it to music-- I've got a bit of a tune in my head already, but to get the bugs out... unless that idea gets nixed for some reason or another. Just, the book lends itself to dancing anyway, and is quite sing-songy, I don't think I could read it straight without accidentally singing it.

So now that I've done productiveness, and Sammy is still busy playing with daddy, I'll do unproductiveness and continue the controversial questions survey by answering the questions Nathan added when he took it )
rockinlibrarian: (Default)
Huh... so I've just been exchanging emails with one of the "popular" girls from high school (granted, one of the popular girls I was most FRIENDS with of the type, considering we were in almost all the same extracurriculars, not counting cheerleading of course) in regards to our approaching (in september) ten year reunion. Anyway, her tone is not particularly FRIENDLY (not that it is UNFRIENDLY, just sort of distant), and I'm finding it vaguely amusing. Or maybe I'm finding my reaction to her tone amusing-- the fact that I really don't CARE. I have absolutely no need or desire for her consideration one way or another. Huh. The geeks and nerds grow up and do just fine for themselves, do they not?

Today is Dav Pilkey's FORTIETH birthday. That just seems too freakin' old for Dav Pilkey. I suppose in comparison to SOME of my celebrity crushes it's quite young... and yes, it IS only 8 1/2 years older than my husband. *gasp* I wonder how old Ewan MacGregor is? All I know about him and birthdays is he has the same birthday as ME. Today is also my mother-in-law's birthday, but she is not nearly as cute as Dav Pilkey. Hmm, I wonder if there's something in astrology that says people born on March 4th have ADHD?

random survey )

Oh, I just realized that I haven't mentioned (because I didn't feel like writing yesterday) that my big project, the Mouse Manual, is now officially off to the printers, and I am now officially done with it, and these things lead to just two big thoughts for me: first, now that I'm done with that, I'm back to being on the floor all day four days a week, a prospect I'm feeling quite bored with. Horray for an interview on monday. Second, this will be actually, technically, my first published work. Of course I stumbled into it through no known talent of my own, more of a just-happening-to-be-there-when-Lois-looks-up-and-says-"Hey, can you WRITE?" And though I certainly proved myself more than capable of the task, still, it's not the same as sending your work out to a publisher and them DECIDING it's good. Still, it's now official-- my First Professional Writing Job. On Wednesday I sent a story I'd written a few years ago into a magazine, for the heck of it, 'cause you never know-- it's a pretty good story, but it's frickin' Spider magazine, which is probably second only to "Highlights" in the number of children's fiction story submissions received regularly-- the odds are not the same as you'd get for a little mag with a small circulation-- but it was more of a, "Hey, I wonder if Cricket Books would like Emily's Book, let me check their website, oh no they're not accepting book submissions, but their magazines are accepting, hey, that story about the merry-go-round would do all right in Spider, so what the heck." So I mailed that Wednesday after having gone into the Museum 'specially to work on the book project-- after I left the Museum I had a horrible time trying to get gas at like five different gas stations and getting really annoyed with drivers but I got to the post office on time, and then I had to go to the grocery store and got really annoyed there too, so I was in a sucky mood when I got home on Wednesday which is why I didn't post anything here then. Then Thursday and Friday I just didn't feel like posting anything. So today I did, and I think I've sufficiently updated you with anything you might possibly need to know about me at the moment.

Okay, that mood flower is so totally not "indifferent." anyway.

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