rockinlibrarian: (Default)
 I'm having one of those brain-chemically Off days and finding it hard to take advantage of this, one of my last kid-free days for awhile. But the good news is, this is the first of such days I've had in MONTHS. MONTHS, SERIOUSLY. I'm not sure if those of you who are neurotypical-and-mentally-healthy are appreciating this fully, so try again, harder: I have gone MONTHS without depressive symptoms taking over my day. Last week at counseling I had to fill out the let's-see-how-sick-you-really-are checklist and I got to check "none of the days" for almost EVERY SYMPTOM, and the ones I didn't were things that have other causes besides depression, like, "Trouble focusing or paying attention" (have I mentioned I'm now officially on the record as having ADHD (Inattentive)? because I have mentioned it, but I keep forgetting).

The really annoying thing is, what could have caused this improvement? Certainly not the state of the world, which, if you haven't been paying attention, kind of sucks more every day. My kids are still loud and my husband's still Republican. I haven't even made any permanent changes in my medication, though we did try, seeing that I have an official new diagnosis that can be treated differently-- it turns out my heart really doesn't like prescription stimulants and I certainly don't want to force the matter on it. 

No, unfortunately, my improvement can be directly correlated with me being on Weight Watchers. 

SERIOUSLY, body?! My diet wasn't THAT bad before, and I'm not exercising THAT much more now. Yet you're going to make me watch what I eat and take the stairs for the rest of my life now to keep me all internally balanced out, is that what you're saying?

Before I go further, I want to make a few things abundantly clear. Most importantly: I am NOT, absolutely NOT, implying that clinical depression can be CURED just with diet and exercise. Maybe for some people it can, but that's not actually how the mental illness of depression works (maybe it works, combined with talk therapy, for some folks getting over situational depressions, but I ain't talking about them!). I am still on 100mgs of Zoloft a day, thanks, and I still have days like today, where I just haven't quite got the drive to live. The Zoloft attempts to keep the serotonin behaving as it ought to in a normal brain, but apparently being generally healthy keeps the levels of serotonin manageable on top of that.

Second thing I want to make clear: I'm relatively bothered by our culture's stance on FAT. I don't really approve of cosmetic weight loss, trying to get a Beach Body, wanting to hit a certain number on the scale. I've always had, I've said, relatively healthy feelings toward my figure (if not my face), whether as a skinny kid, a curvy adolescent, or an overweight adult. I figure, as long as I'm HEALTHY, there's nothing wrong with a little heft.

But that's the key-- I'd stopped being HEALTHY. If I ever WAS healthy. But anyhoo. That's why I started feeling better after only a week of "weight-watching." I hadn't even WEIGHED myself for the first time yet, so I wasn't psychologically cheering about that. No, I just woke up one morning about a week later and thought, "I ALREADY feel so much better. CRAP." 

i.e., apparently scaling back on portion sizes and carbs and non-water drinks actually DOES give you more viv. WHY. I LIKE NOT HAVING TO WORRY ABOUT HOW MANY POINTS SOMETHING IS BEFORE I EAT IT. I LIKE BUFFETS. I haven't had to deal with a real buffet yet while on Weight Watchers but I WILL GO TO BUFFETS AGAIN. 

Anyway, it's funny, I've now hit the point, weight-wise, I was at about two to three years ago, when other people (doctors, inlaws, you know) were telling me I was gaining too much weight and I was perfectly happy where I was. It was much later into my sudden-blimping-out phase when I became dissatisfied with my own body-- looks-wise, the fact that I wasn't fitting into pretty dresses I'd just recently MADE-wise, but also I was getting a lot of annoying side symptoms that were in fact related to extra weight. I set my first goal on Weight Watchers to lose 20 pounds, which would get me out of that stage. And I hit it, a few weeks ago. And yes, like magic the heartburn and incontinence and joint pain and junk are gone! Woot!

But now my logical brain and my Id are apparently arguing with each other. I set a new goal to get me down another twenty pounds, which would get me back to pre-Maddie weight if not pre-Sammy. But-- though my points numbers and habits haven't changed-- I'm not losing as quickly now, and I'm CRAVING high-points food items a lot more, which GIVES me less desire to stick through it. So it's like subconsciously I hit a point where my superego is saying "Okay, keep up the good work, keep going!" but my id's all "No, this is my happy spot, remember? It's fine right here." 

But it's NOT fine right here, because it's too easy to slip back to where my body wasn't so happy? So I really need to keep going, and make sure habits are in place where I don't HAVE to be QUITE so strict with my diet but I'm not going to slide down that hill of healthlessness again? 

So that's where I'm at. I'm DOING GREAT, BUT I'M ALSO AFRAID OF JINXING MYSELF BY SAYING THAT.
rockinlibrarian: (beaker)
Summer Vacation hasn't been treating me well. Sure, I didn't always make the best use of my time while the kids were in school, but now that they're home I'm a zombie staring blankly and mourning my lack of alone time. Also they're addicted to YouTube and video games like Minecraft and Roblox which are only available two places in this house-- my computer and my Nook-- and since there's two of THEM they've been commandeering my online access, so I don't even have you all to whine to about it. Seems the only way I can get them to go out and play is if I go, too-- take them to the pool, let them hang out an hour after Vacation Bible School this morning because they were actually running around with other kids even though I really wanted to get back home and have lunch, whatever. I feel very impotent when it comes to actually running my own life-- everyone else is running it for me. And when they AREN'T, I sit and stare because I can't even figure out what it is I would do if I DID take charge of my own life. I'm not sure how long it took me to actually start typing this, once Sammy decided to go see what his sister was doing instead of playing Roblox and I realized I had my computer to myself and could finally type out all the stuff I've been wanting to put out there all week. Like, wait, what did I want to write about again?

My physical body has been a mess lately. My right knee has been acting goofy* since Disney World and really only getting worse over time. It doesn't like to bend. It doesn't like going up or down stairs, or getting in and out of the car, or bending down and standing up again, and will protest with a scream of pain if I try it. And resting it doesn't even help. It's still mad at me in the morning after a supposed good night's sleep. I finally went to the doctor last week, who determined that nothing was broken and it was something in the joint itself, either tendonitis or arthritis, and all I can do is take lots of ibuprofen and put ice on it occasionally. This past week it's felt like my whole body wanted to follow that knee, finding a million ways to creak and cramp and act up whenever I tried to move OR to stay still, and I was like, seriously? Is my whole body falling apart now? I'm supposed to get into shape but I can't because exercise hurts, but not exercising makes me continue toward entropy? The good news is the x-ray determined my knee issue is not arthritis, which means it's not permanent, supposedly. There's hope for me eventually.

For some reason I have gained 25 pounds in the past two years. Now, before I go any further, you have to understand that I, unlike far too many people in this fat-phobic world, have never had body issues. I was skinny as a kid, so no one fat-shamed me into hating my own body, so instead I devoted all my physical self-loathing to my face, my blotchy, too-square face with the crooked teeth and stupid-vague-EnneaType9 expression-- look okay I still have irrational issues with my face, so I'm not like some miraculously physical-shame-free person. But my body I've always been okay with. I thought my figure was kind of perfect when I was younger. When I was pregnant, while other mothers-to-be fretted about feeling fat, I was like HOLY CRAP I LOOK LIKE A FERTILITY GODDESS, THE EARTH IS MINE! Even now, I'm not disgusted by my figure: it feels properly womanly** to me. But lately the weight gain has brought other problems with it. GIRTH has become a problem vanity-wise only because dresses I made or bought-on-Modcloth-so-they're-expensive-and-pretty just a few years ago NO LONGER ZIP UP. I do not want to get rid of those dresses. Okay, but besides that, I've developed actual health issues that correlate with weight gain: the joint pain, as established. Sleep apnea. Heartburn, which for some reason always hits me at two in the afternoon no matter what I may or may not have eaten. I've never been in good shape, what-my-body-can-do-wise, even when I was skinny, but that's hardly improving now, either.

And my husband ironically makes it worse by needling me about it. He's equal-opportunity about it at any case, going on about how we BOTH need to lose weight, but every little crack he makes makes me feel more stubbornly like NOT doing anything to help improve my weight. I'm just going to NOT exercise now because he said that, right? And food. Food is a real issue. I've always wanted to eat healthier than we eat in this household, with salads and produce of all sorts, experimenting with all kinds of foods, cutting back on meat intake-- in summer, especially, why doesn't my family like SALADS? Why do they insist on COOKED food? But with my family of picky eaters, they're not going to go for it. But my husband, while he won't sacrifice his hearty meat-and-potatoes*** dishes, he thinks snacking is the evil we need to cut. No eating too late in the evening (even though when I work evenings I often CAN'T eat until, like, 9 PM). No eating between meals. Whenever he sees me get a snack he makes some snarky comment about it, and you know what? It just makes me want to eat MORE and WORSE. Whether it's out of spite or just a feeling of DARNIT I WANT SOMETHING FOR MYSELF, I WANT SOME LITTLE BIT OF HAPPINESS JUST FOR ME TO INDULGE IN, DO NOT DENY ME THIS COOKIE. With the objective observer part of my mind, I can see myself doing this, making an unhealthily psychological connection to food, STRESS-EATING. So obviously, the objective observer says, I don't NEED to eat when I feel that way, right? At which point the objective observer gets GLARED AT by the rest of my mind, more determined than ever that NO ONE, NO ONE SHALL TAKE MY SWEET-AND-STARCHY SNACKS FROM ME, INCLUDING ME! When I mentioned this to my psychiatrist she said, "so when you feel this way, how much do you eat?" "I don't know, a few cookies?" "So not, like, two pizzas at a sitting?" "What?!" "People do that," she explained. Well dang, surely I SHOULD be allowed my cookies then, shouldn't I.

But seriously, that's so psychological. I so definitely make sure I always have a chocolate stash just because it's MINE. I'm a grownup and I can have a dang chocolate stash if I want. Because it's nice to feel like SOMETHING is in my control, you know?

Completely psychological.

I was going to write about bigger, more important things probably, but I think this is all I'm getting to today.

*pun not intended
**not that skinny women AREN'T womanly! I do not wish to suggest there is any WRONG way to be womanly! But I do feel my body is in fact properly womanly. Not my face, though, it's still too square. :P
***Granted, I won't sacrifice potatoes, either. It's just, you know, the concept. Meat-and-potatoes. But potatoes are happy. I love potatoes. Shut up anti-starch people.
rockinlibrarian: (eggman)
1. I feel kind of guilty about expressing my discomfort with the We Need Diverse Books campaign in the past. I want to make it clear that my discomfort is COMPLETELY PERSONAL, not ideological. I never want to give anyone the impression that I think it's "reverse racism" or unfair to me as a really-boringly-undiverse writer in any way people have industry control over. IT'S NOT. IT'S COMPLETELY FAIR, AND AS A LIBRARIAN I AM ALL FOR IT. It's only me as a struggling writer with low self-esteem, every time I see it The Lone Power whispers in my ear "NOBODY NEEDS YOUR WRITING, YOU'RE BORING, GIVE UP TRYING TO WRITE NOW." And obviously, considering I'm attributing the voice to The Lone Power, I know it's wrong, I know it's a lie, but the part of me that knows this can't think of a good comeback. "I SO TOTALLY DO HAVE A UNIQUE VOICE AND AN OUTLOOK THAT NEEDS TO BE SHARED! I'M GOING TO WRITE...uh...okay I have no idea what I'm going to write." And the Lone Power goes "SEE?!" and I go waste my time reading TV recaps instead. So what I'm saying is DIVERSE BOOKS=GOOD. SUPPORT THEM. I DON'T WANT ANY SPECIAL TREATMENT FROM PUBLISHERS. I'M NOT AFRAID OF HAVING MY CHANCES TAKEN FROM ME BY PEOPLE WHO HAVE LESS REPRESENTED VOICES. I'm only afraid of having my chances taken from me by my own internal doubts.

2. ABC, you can't CANCEL Agent Carter. I'm not saying this as a rabid fan who doesn't personally WANT you to cancel Agent Carter. Well, I AM, but that's beside the point. No, it's just, and I've said this before, Agent Carter is a MINISERIES and theoretically you can bring it back at any time, stick it in anywhere you have a break. The word "cancel" is too FINAL for something so flexible. Just say, "Not in this next year, but hey, maybe some other time!" I mean it'll WORK, we've got YEARS to explore, with the exception offinding out what happened to Thompson

there's no reason we can't pop back into the history of proto-SHIELD several years later. Don't be all "CANCELLED" about it! Be "on indefinite hiatus!" COME ON, KEEP YOUR OPTIONS OPEN!

3. Speaking of Marvel TV, Jason has decided he doesn't care about Agents of SHIELD anymore. Part of me's like, okay, I'm fine with that, I don't need to worry about making it to the TV every Tuesday at 9, I can watch on my own time the next afternoon or whatnot (I work Wednesday mornings), but another part of me is like YOU DON'T REALIZE WHAT A HUGE BLOW THIS IS TO OUR MARRIAGE. It was our DATE NIGHT. That's one of the few things we really enjoy doing together, watching superhero shows! And I have a feeling I want to see Civil War more than he does. Which if we could only get babysitting he'd be okay with, but his parents are in the middle of moving and my parents live farther away. Part of me's like, gee, I could totally go by myself some weekday afternoon, but then I'm like, "NO, AMY, THAT'S THE EQUIVALENT OF ADULTERY. Not just because your Imaginary Husband has a small part in it. IT WOULD BE SUCH AN UNCARING MOVE TO GO SEE A SUPERHERO MOVIE WITHOUT JASON." Seriously. There's more at stake here than watching a movie.

4. I'm kind of mentally cluttered at the moment. I've got gardening to catch up on, on account of being down with the flu all last week. I have a lot of GeekMom articles I want to work on, but I feel guilty sitting down to write long enough to do so. The house is, of course, a wreck. And I still have to feed three picky eaters and myself, which is still the bane of my existence. Sometimes I just want to shout "ENOUGH! FROM NOW ON I AM ONLY MAKING SALADS AND YOU WILL EAT IT OR YOU WILL MAKE YOUR OWN FOOD WITHOUT WHINING!" But I have a hard time cooking for myself.

5. Now I am running late for work, so bye. Excuse the lack of editing and links that I would have done had I had more time.

rockinlibrarian: (christmas)
This format worked really nicely last year, so I'll stick to something of the same:
Long and Full of Pictures )

When I was talking about the GeekMom thing with some relatives on Christmas Eve, I said kind of bashfully that I shouldn't let my writing confidence be affected so much by how many people read and respond, because writers write even if only for themselves, but a couple of them said, No, it makes sense, because while that might be so, a written work technically isn't complete until it has an audience, because it TAKES A READER. So please, indulge me, and chime in in the comments with your opinions on any or all of the things discussed here, because I like being heard!
rockinlibrarian: (christmas)
For as far back as I can remember, my dad has made a big pot of New England Clam Chowder every Thanksgiving. Sure we have the turkey and stuffing and the rest of it, but the clam chowder is his particular contribution to our large extended-family feast. He always said it was more likely to have been eaten at Plymouth Rock* than turkey and stuffing, anyway.

Some years we'd show up and there'd be no other appetizers out, and we'd skipped lunch BECAUSE, and I'd be SOOOOO STARVING because I was a kid and had no sense of LATER, but clam chowder was gross. GROSS. Still, every once in awhile I'd get desperate enough for a few spoonfuls and a lot of oyster crackers. And over the years it grew on me and my tastes matured and the spoonfuls got bigger and the oyster crackers got less.

Today when I tasted it, "gross" it was not. It wasn't even soup I tasted. I tasted a cozy festive space that blocked the cold outside. I tasted a house crowded with love and laughter. I tasted football games blaring out of every TV even though no one particularly CARED who was winning (unless the Steelers were playing). I tasted the anticipation of a feast and a vast table of desserts and even of the Christmas season itself.

I had seconds of the clam chowder that tasted like so much more than clam chowder. Turkey and stuffing, well, anybody can have turkey and stuffing, any feast day. But New England clam chowder actually tastes like THANKSGIVING now.

So I give thanks for clam chowder, for the family that shares it, and for the man who makes it every year, whose birthday, coincidentally, is also today. Happy Birthday, Dad, and Happy Chowder Day, Everyone!

--


*Although, please people, can we stop with that association already? It's an offensive association, but that doesn't mean THANKSGIVING should go the way of offensive (unlike, say, Columbus Day. WHO CELEBRATES COLUMBUS DAY?!). We don't need to drag Thanksgiving down with it. Thanksgiving is about giving thanks, and that never goes out of style.
rockinlibrarian: (portrait)
My kids' school has a "Don't send in edible treats" policy, and last year I posted a rant against the unintended side effects of this policy. Namely, GARBAGE. Junk FOOD is one thing-- you eat it and it's gone (usually. If you have a child's metabolism). Junk TOYS are something else entirely. They make messes. They eventually only get thrown out. But to be serious about it for a minute, I have a real problem with that much waste. I don't like to throw things out, not because I want them, but because WHY ARE WE DOING THIS TO OUR PLANET, IT'S JUST MAKING ANOTHER MESS IN SOME OVERSTUFFED LANDFILL IF IT'S NOT MAKING A MESS IN MY HOUSE. Not to mention all the waste that goes into manufacturing the crappy things. But if I'm honest with myself, I'm not really taking this stance out of noble environmental concern.* In the immediate present, my reaction is just a selfish "great, more clutter."

So anyway, the thing is, the school's policy is "Don't send in edible treats," not "Send in nonedible treats," so I'm just that grinchy parent who doesn't send in anything, BECAUSE WE WEREN'T ACTUALLY ASKED TO SEND IN ANYTHING, AND NOTHING IS BETTER THAN GARBAGE.** "But what about the CHILDREN?" you ask. And I say, they're at school, they're playing games, they're with their friends, they don't NEED treats there. They will come home and go proper trick or treating later, and then they will have PLENTY OF EDIBLE AND THEREFORE EXPENDABLE TREATS.

So I relinked to that post yesterday when my kids came home from school with a pile of plastic goody bags, and many people agreed BUT.

Of COURSE there are exceptions. Of COURSE there's a reason for the school's policy. So through further discussion I've decided to spell out the RIGHT and WRONG way to deal with what basically comes down to offering non-allergenic options.

First of all, the problem came from school parties, not from trick-or-treating proper. So number one, if there is no policy instructing you to AVOID edible items, here's how you can handle it:

RIGHT:
Offer options. In my house we are serious peanut butter cup fans, so we always offer peanut butter cups so we have leftovers. BUT peanut butter and chocolate are both big allergy problems, so we offer the choice: peanut butter cups OR Skittles.*** You could in fact offer candy OR a non-edible item, but please see below for further guidelines.

Granted, if you have more than one option, a lot of kids will immediately grab one of EACH, so if you're not okay with that you'll have to be immediately clear with your guidelines.

WRONG:
Deciding FOR your visitors. Offering only one type of treat increases the chance that really won't be a treat for someone after all (whether that's because the kid can't eat it, the kid doesn't LIKE it, or the mom doesn't want it in her house). But worse is forcing your ideals on everyone who comes-- if you're against sugar, don't put your porch light on during trick-or-treating at all, and don't you even THINK about doing what that one lady did last year and pass out notes telling kids they're too fat for candy. And you should also probably not use trick-or-treating as an opportunity to, as Kim Aippersbach suggested (jokingly!) in the comments of last year's post, pass out little cards explaining that, instead of spending money on Halloween treats this year, you bought a goat for a family in Africa and I'm sure everyone understands!

Okay, that's trick-or-treating. But what if you ARE under a no-edible-treats policy and you still want to offer treats? Here are some options that, the other people I've talked about it and I agree, do not suck:

RIGHT: Art supplies. Pencils, pens, crayons, markers, paints, coloring books, tablets. I personally would even be okay with Play-doh, but there are probably more parents that would hate you forever for that one, so I might grudgingly put that on the "WRONG" list instead, since I AM trying to give actual advice here.

WRONG: Pencils that don't sharpen. Crayons made out of way more wax than pigment. Teeny stampers. Small plastic stencils that are barely useable. Tiny tablets with approximately five pages in them. Coloring booklets that look like they were drawn by someone who is stuck in the 1950s.

I am undecided about stickers. Nope, I am decided about stickers. It's just stickers are in that nebulous category that kids WILL enjoy and use thoroughly, but probably in ways that parents would rather they not.

RIGHT: GOOD reading materials. My friend Megan recommends the Scholastic sales where you get five paperbacks for five dollars or whatever. It's probably just as expensive as all the junky toys in the long run. Samantha Fisher from the crew at GeekMom (which I am also writing for now, in case you missed it) also suggests bookmarks, and really, it's ridiculous, you'd think you'd eventually own too many bookmarks, but how come you can never find one when you NEED it?

WRONG: Buying dollar books at the dollar STORE. You really can NOT get quality literature there, and you may be of the opinion that the KIDS don't care, but either a kid WILL care, and throw it aside, or a kid WON'T care and will force an adult to read terrible, terrible prose or verses that don't scan right OVER and OVER again and THEY WILL CURSE YOU. Please, check out the Scholastic discount sales, instead!

RIGHT: Consumable toys. Obviously not in the EATING sense. More like bubbles, glow sticks, and balloons. These ARE all things that will be thrown away eventually, but they're only MEANT to be enjoyed for a short period of time, and IN that period of time, they will be enjoyed THOROUGHLY. My daughter actually just said, about a balloon she got yesterday, "This balloon makes me so happy, I love it so much." Personally I think balloons are a bit MORE fun if they're punching balloons, at least.

WRONG: Toys that are consumable only in the sense that they're so poorly made they don't last, not toys that are MEANT to be used up.

RIGHT: My friend Mandy gave out Lego Mixels as a party treat recently. There are other small building kits that are actually decent that you can buy in bulk around, too.

WRONG: Cheapo building sets that don't fit together, foam airplanes that break when you TRY to put them together, things that come in many tiny pieces but are stored in a thin cardboard box that never shuts again once the shrink wrap comes off. This includes tiny little puzzles. Tiny little puzzles SEEM like they'd be a cool treat, but usually you just end up losing pieces immediately because of the crappy box. Also, the puzzles themselves aren't much sturdier, so the pieces tend to warp and stop fitting, anyway.

WRONG WRONG WRONG: Plastic spider rings. WHO WEARS THOSE, anyway? And even those who DO, WHO WEARS AS MANY OF THEM AS GET ACCUMULATED EVERY HALLOWEEN?

Also wrong: gift bags. I mean if you stick with one DECENT nonedible treat, instead of several crappy ones, you won't need a gift bag, anyway!

If we all follow these guidelines, it's possible that EVERYONE, candy lovers and people with food issues and underpaid factory workers in third world countries and parents that just have to clean up, will have a Happy Halloween.****
----

*Though if I'm REALLY honest, that IS part of the reason I appear to be something of a hoarder. I really DON'T like throwing things out. Waste really DOES disgust me.

**In the sense of "#1 Good Stuff, #2 Nothing, #3 Garbage," of course, not in the sense of "Garbage is the undefeated #1."

***And yes, there are some poor souls who can't eat EITHER, but this is extremely rare and I'm pretty sure those souls will just avoid trick-or-treating period.

****We're not going to please the people who don't celebrate Halloween out of the conviction that traditions started to scare away demons are actually about worshipping demons, but there's nothing you can do about that. Except call it a Harvest Party. I do outreach at a super-conservative-fundamentalist school that was originally scheduled for an outreach yesterday, and I was like, "Oh, good, at least I know THEY won't cancel on me to make room for a Halloween party," but NO, they cancelled on me for their HARVEST PARTY instead. But as it turned out a couple of coworkers had called off so they needed me on desk at the library anyway, so I guess it's all for the best.
rockinlibrarian: (hi maddie)
Checking in.

Still not writing much. Just jotting down my dreams most mornings. I do actively write stories in my sleep, while I'm dreaming, but of course I can never remember the details that REALLY MADE it once I wake up. Like last night's was about these two schools next door to each other (one was a middle school, one a high school?) one of which had a random pet goat and the other of which had Tony Stark as a teacher, only it turned out the pet goat was actually Tony Stark's illegitimate kid-no-pun-intended who had the ability to shapeshift into a goat and was also a cyborg, and then his (the cyborg-goat-kid's) long lost twin sister, now a social worker, showed up looking for him, and there was a happy family reunion, and this was ACTUALLY RELATIVELY AWESOME while it was happening but I have no idea what I was thinking now.

Truth is I've been having mental health issues lately but mostly they've all been me holding everything in and giving myself stomachaches and pretending everything is fine, like I do, so when, for example, my FBI fingerprinting clearance FINALLY showed up the other day, making me legal to work with children again, I was SO RELIEVED that I suddenly only then REALIZED the stress it had been causing me, because my stomach stopped hurting. Also I've got a muscle spasm in my shoulder that's put me on a weird cocktail of medications. Oh, also, the muscle spasm was partially caused by me for some reason HOLDING A GREAT DEAL OF TENSION IN MY MUSCLES. I also was not aware I was doing that. So right, I haven't been quite so well, which means I may have appeared to have fallen off the face of the earth there.

(If you are worried, I do have an appointment with a proper psychiatrist coming up to try to get myself back in order again. In late August. Because that's how soon people can get first appointments with psychiatrists. And I'm so grateful that I have experience, and a general support system, and am already on meds, because if I had to wait that long while I was truly at rock bottom and didn't know what to do or if there was hope? HOW MANY PEOPLE does that apply to. Please, support making mental health help easier for anyone who needs it to get, wherever possible in your life).

Also I've been having a hard time reclaiming my internet access from my children lately. It's been raining a lot here. Constantly. No just sending them outside. And at some point, I do not know how (WHO TAUGHT THEM THIS YOU WILL PAY) they discovered Toy Unboxing videos on YouTube. Sam watches people play with Thomas Trackmaster sets over and over. Maddie watches cutsie little toy animal plays by people who try WAY too hard to do cute voices. They both keep ASKING for new toys. And the other day they even discovered the existence of Kinder Surprise Eggs this way and DARN YOU FOREIGNERS. OR US CUSTOMS REGULATIONS. OR WHATEVER. Anyway, you'd think it'd be easier to pull them away from this steady diet of amateur infomercials but it's NOT. Today I figured out exactly WHAT was so sickening about this habit though. "STOP WATCHING OTHER PEOPLE PLAY!" I told them. "YOU go PLAY something YOURSELF!" :P

Meanwhile I finished a new dress today. It's kind of a fancy party dress, but definitely needs some poofy petticoat action to go for the full effect. I think I'll wear it to work tomorrow anyway.

Maddie told me the other day that I'm like Rarity the My Little Pony because I love to make dresses. Now, I am very LITTLE like Rarity, who is highly vain and image-conscious, I'm really much more of a cross between Fluttershy and Twilight Sparkle (which has also been pointed out by my children), but I kind of Huh-ed when she said that, because it's TRUE. I DO love to make dresses, don't I? I always associated fashion design with, well, characters like Rarity, girls who were much more interested in being cool and following trends than I. I just like pretty dresses and flowy sleeves and my own hippie-and-occasionally-mod-if-I-feel-like-cleaning-up-a-bit (the one I finished today is definitely more Mod than Hippie. I'm pretty sure they sell something just like it at ModCloth) style. NOT trendy.* NOT caring what's cool. But I DO love it just for me, and I think being a grownup who's allowed to like whatever I like no matter what CLIQUE it might be associated with is wonderfully freeing that way. So yeah, I DO. I DO love to make pretty dresses.

At work-- now that I can legally do so-- I've been busy with Outreach programs. I still do readings at day cares-- which is a change this summer, previously I only did it during the school year; but earlier this spring I started bringing my Library Explorers program to the activity center in the low income housing plan. This gets a little wild but is quite fun, and I'm thrilled that I have so many regulars showing for it. The only IN-house program I get that much reaction to is Lego Club, and that's not so much me as, you know, LEGO.

It occurs to me I meant to run down all my spring program ideas for you several months ago, but somehow I lost that.

Collaborative Summer Reading is Every Hero Has a Story, and I have been almost ZERO involved with Summer Reading this year. But I am sticking with the theme for my Family Night storytimes, for which I consistently get the same small family every week. One kid, his baby brother, his mom. But they're enthusiastic!

Today the kids and I went blueberry picking, which was lovely. We missed strawberry picking this year, and the farm we were at was even out of its own already-PICKED local strawberries, so I was a little sad about that.

I dropped my waterbottle on my toe a few weeks ago and it STILL hurts to the touch. Luckily it's summer, because I can't wear shoes over it, only sandals.

And that's it, I think. That's my letter of update. That's what's up. How about you?

---

*Okay, ModCloth IS kind of trendy in a hipsterish way. But that's not WHY I like it, and if it stops being trendy, so what.
rockinlibrarian: (wwii)
I briefly considered trying NaNoWriMo since I don't have One Book to work on this year, but I had a feeling that would be like trying a marathon in my current state of fitness, so instead I said, "Okay, I will just get into the habit of writing every day." THAT hasn't been doing all that well, either. Granted, I spent the first week of November sleeping off a horrible flu-like thing that SHOULDN'T HAVE HAPPENED BECAUSE I GOT A FLU SHOT A MONTH AND A HALF AGO DANGIT, but even that week I had moments where I thought "I don't have the energy for housework, so nothing's tugging at me and making me feel guilty for writing, so I should get lots of writing done!" But HAH. I barely got daily JOURNALING in.

Then I got distracted making a dress. I replaced my sewing machine a few weeks ago, and now it's just HERE ASKING ME TO MAKE STUFF. I've been looking forward to making this dress for a long time, with a pattern I'd made up myself based on this gorgeous dress I saw on a totally-out-of-my-price-league boutique site which I can no longer find a picture of, so I pieced the pattern together by mixing up parts of dresses and other patterns I already had. Then a month ago I inherited a huge pile of fabric from my grandmother-in-law's house, which included two swaths she'd already paired together which seemed perfect for the dress, and when I actually cut the pieces out it turned out to be EXACTLY THE RIGHT AMOUNT of fabric of each color. It was creepy! It was like it was MEANT TO BE! I love the results, but they're not exactly what I expected. I'd been going for a sort of retro feminine cocktail dress type thing, and yet somehow what happened looks EXACTLY like it should be a costume for The Sound of Music.
Picture 33*
Which I still love. I've always been slightly obsessed with all Maria's dresses in that movie. And though the green fabric is heavy and I'm pretty sure Mim-mim had originally intended to make something tableclothy out of it, I don't THINK it looks like it's made of old drapes. But it DOES look a bit like I intend to do some kind of Alpine dancing in it. NOT THAT IT ISN'T AWESOME. I'm just not sure that I could wear it to a hip cocktail party** without being mistaken for some sort of ethnic entertainment.

Along with the huge box of fabric, I also got a bunch of notions and wrapping paper and casserole dishes and Pe-pa's ties that I mentioned last post, and most remarkably, a little yellowed paperback from 1943, VOGUE's Pocket Book of Home Dressmaking. It's a treasure trove of tips, if you ignore the obviously dated stuff.

Of course, why ignore ALL the dated stuff, because this paragraph on the back cover is just plain interesting: "Above all, you will help the Government in its conservation program, by waging war on waste. And when peace comes, you will want to continue to make the distinctive clothes that you have learned to make with this step-by-step handbook." That's a sort of fun thing to read and go "OOO!" But that's OBVIOUSLY a product of history. Another line on the back copy struck me even more, even though it doesn't scream out its era so blatantly: "It proves that sewing need not be difficult, but actually fun."

Heh, I thought. Actually FUN? I wouldn't even think of sewing if I didn't find it fun. Who sews because they HAVE to anymore? Putting aside wartime shortages, though, there WAS a time when sewing ones family's own clothes oneself was considered a necessary chore. You bought material and patterns, not ready-made clothes, unless you were well-off enough to afford a tailor. It was something that was just EXPECTED of the lady of the house.

But everyone I know who sews nowadays does it as a hobby. Sure, it has benefits, they can make useful things usually cheaper and more personalized than if they just bought those things. Maybe they even sell some of their creations on Etsy. But none of them do it because it's EXPECTED of them.

I wondered what it would be like if I HAD to sew. If I was REQUIRED by my family, by society, by available resources, to MAKE everything my family wore. Would I still get excited finding particular patterns or materials? Would I still want to show off what I'd made when I finished? Or would I dread having to hem another pair of pants?

It's one thing to make it a gendered obligation. Sure, there were probably lots of women who didn't like to sew and didn't like being expected to sew merely because it was "Women's work." But if I, someone who DOES enjoy sewing, had lived in a time or place where I was OBLIGED to do it, I'm not sure I would have liked it so much either. For example, take the other most prominent half of Home Economics, the half that IS still usually EXPECTED of people (although not as OFTEN in a gendered way): cooking. I DO love cooking. I love eating even more, but I also enjoy pulling together a meal and substituting ingredients and generally making something scrumptious to share with others. BUT in my house I am THE COOK. The other adult, if left to his own devices, might forget about plant-based ingredients entirely. Oh, wait, ingredients? Forget ingredients, the less pieces, the better. All-in-one ready-made for him. So basically, here I am, the one that HAS to prep all the meals every day. The one that HAS to find a meal to at least partially satisfy four people with very different tastes, one of whom is extraordinarily picky to the point that he's bordering on underweight, one of whom is slightly less picky but is weird about Things Touching and, again, is even weirder about VEGETATION, and one of whom isn't THAT picky yet somehow doesn't like SPAGHETTI WHAT IS WRONG WITH HER. (I am the least picky eater, but admittedly I AM the only one in the family who doesn't like ham. What is wrong with ME). I get SO SICK of trying to please this crew. I get SO SICK of HAVING to come up with dinner every night. That's really the problem. It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't HAVE to do it EVERY NIGHT.

It's funny how chores become such CHORES. My kids are still at the age where they think doing the dishes is the most fun thing ever, which would be great if they actually got the dishes CLEAN. But as soon as they're old enough to do it thoroughly and seriously, and I try to GET them to do the dishes, how long do you suppose the fun will last?

Life is full of obligations, but it doesn't seem fair that obligation should so suddenly and thoroughly turn things Not Fun. Really, what's the difference? What is really the difference between WANTING to and HAVING to? If people only did the things they WANT to, how soon would we fall into chaos? Or would we? Would the people who WANT to do all the usual obligations just step in and pick up the slack for those who don't? Anarchy isn't so bad because there's somebody who will do anything? Or will they? WHO KNOWS? How can we use this tendency to dread obligation to our true advantage?

I always say that about Christmastime, though-- that I wish the people who didn't enjoy the process and stressed out about their holiday obligations would just let their obligations slide and let those of us who DO love getting ready for Christmas take up all the slack, because we do it gladly and with joy and give it freely to even those who don't feel like giving it back. But Christmastime is one thing. The rest of the year, the drudge of everyday life... we may need those obligations too much to say "Only if you want to!"

OR DO WE? I'm really just confusing myself now. I suppose we never can know for sure.

---

*Also, my daughter mugging. After this picture on the computer are at least five more goofy selfies.
**because I go to so many of those
rockinlibrarian: (toothbrush)
I could begin with my philosophical arguments and generalisms, but let's not bury the lead: please stop giving my children a heap of Oriental Trading-esque junk in the name of good health.

That's it, really. It's ultimately selfish of me. I don't need more garbage toys cluttering up my house. I mean seriously, what do YOU do with all that crap they bring home from school parties now that bringing in birthday cupcakes isn't allowed? Do your children keep all their junk toys neatly in brightly labeled containers on shelves in their rooms? If so, please, share your secret! Or do you just pitch it periodically, because they're just crappy dollar store toys? If so, aren't you concerned about the environmental factors in making and shipping and disposing of all that, or aren't you concerned about the humanitarian factors of the low-wage workers exploited to make them? I mean, you're awfully concerned about junk food.

But let's bring it back to the philosophizing. Junk food's bad for you, right? That's why they call it junk food. But I'm of the everything-in-moderation camp (and yes, not EVERYTHING, don't be pedantic). There's a big difference between eating fast food every day and eating cake at a birthday party. When doctors talk about poor dietary choices they're not talking about an occasional splurge, they're talking about daily habits. And if a kid can't have candy on Halloween, when CAN they have it?

I've heard say that dentists recommend special occasion splurges over, say, eating one piece of candy a day, because you can brush your teeth just once, carefully, after a splurge, and all that horrible sugar is gone! Right, and you trade clean teeth for a bellyache, but I'm just saying.

I like sweets. Sure, maybe that's a vice of mine. But it's a much more controllable vice when I allow myself to have them on special occasions, and can say, "No, you don't need that" the rest of the time. Okay maybe I'm not actually that good about it. But in theory, I believe that's right. You don't turn down a dang piece of cake at a birthday party because you're "trying to watch your figure." Just don't be eating cake after every meal for no REASON. Birthday parties are FOR CAKE! EAT THE DANG CAKE! Unless you don't like cake, then, fine, don't.

The school has this policy of no treats. Combination of being "healthy!" and avoiding allergy issues. Okay then. I can deal with that. I just won't send in treats for holidays and birthdays. But other kids' parents have taken to sending in goody bags of nonedibles instead. For every kid. For every occasion. And not only does it make ME look like the crappy parent because I DON'T, but HOW MANY TINY ERASERS AND CHINTZY STAMPERS DOES ANY HOUSEHOLD REALLY NEED?

I'd prefer it, if people want to be HEALTHY! about their trick-or-treating gifts, if they gave out apples. Apples, the traditional lousy non-candy giveaway! But apples get USED. CONSUMED. And MY kids certainly like them enough. Curse that stupid razor-blade scare of the 1980s! Apples are SO much better than those pencils that don't sharpen properly!

But let's be honest. It's Halloween. It's one time of year-- one of two times if your Easter baskets take this pattern*-- when you're ALLOWED to amass a horde of candy. SO DO IT. FOR HALLOWEEN. LONG LIVE ANNUAL SUGAR OVERLOADS!

And that's all I have to say about that.

*Surprise, ours do.
rockinlibrarian: (christmas)
Well, time is tight, and I have so much to write about, but I don't want to let today (my favorite day of the year! Yes, Christmas Eve is actually more my favorite than Christmas Day, that's just the way it works) pass without wishing you, my Internet friends, my friends and family I WON'T be seeing this week, and my lovely random strangers who happen to be reading this, a very Merry Christmas. I'm going to get back to that by the end of this post, by way of a lot of other stuff that's been on my mind the past few days, so... be patient? Or get your internal scanners ready?

About this past weekend

So, eleven years ago tonight I got the only piece of jewelry I ever (let alone always) wear, from my then-boyfriend, who was actually stunned when I accepted it. Ten years ago this coming Friday we got married. It seems like a good opportunity to do MORE than JUST dinner-and-a-movie, although we did do the dinner-and-a-movie (though in two parts) too, but this actual anniversary weekend is a little busy, so this PAST weekend my parents took the kids and booked us a night at a fancy little bed-and-breakfast in Ligonier. We DID have Friday evening and Saturday morning at home, where we finished up Christmas Stuff; but then off we headed, to a fancy and probably-most-expensive-we-ever-actually-paid-for-and-WE-DID-IT-ON-PURPOSE dinner at my cousin's restaurant. That's where we took my new Facebook profile picture: 018
...which stunned at least 29 people with its beauty. "HOW are those two complete dorks looking so CUTE?!" everyone on Facebook thought. I don't know. Expensive food. That must be it.

Then we RELAXED in our fancy little B&B, run by a woman who ordered us to Be Romantic or Else. She seemed to think we ought to be listening to quiet instrumental music over breakfast instead of watching Marvel Universe movies on FX. But this is what she served us for breakfast: baked pears in rum sauce with pecans; a sort-of-stuffed-French-toast-thing-made-with-cinnamon-and-stuffed-with-mascarpone-and-apricot-jam-I-think-I-got-that-right; very good seasoned homefried potatoes; sausage and maple syrup. There were also snacks in the room, and we had hot chocolate in the morning too. So we were very well-fed this weekend.

Then we ran off to see Desolation of Smaug, because it wouldn't be a proper anniversary without me dragging my Real Husband to watch my Imaginary Husband on the big screen. So here's where I do a quick movie review!:

A Quick Response to The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug:

Desolation of Smaug is very much the middle movie of a trilogy: it drops you right into the middle of the action and ends so suddenly that, in our theater, the silence was broken by the guy beside us exclaiming, "You have GOT to be KIDDING me!"

Beyond that, I cannot possibly give you an objective, mainstream review. I will admit it: I'm an utter Pete-Jackson's-Middle-Earth fangirl. I fail as a book purist-- I honestly didn't care WHAT happened-- even Jason, who has only read the book once, questioned aloud at one point "The ring didn't AFFECT him this much in the book, did it?" (and I refrained from responding "ShutupmyOtherHusbandisACTING!")-- although towards the very end I did wonder how long the action at Erebor would drag out-- but otherwise I let it go (also I figure if people would just refer to the movies by their subtitles only-- ie Desolation of Smaug-- the need to feel at all book-pure decreases significantly). I fail as a critic of fine cinema-- I don't even KNOW this time around what the faults and strengths of this movie as a visual storytelling device are. I was just THERE, immersed, and smiling constantly. Dear lord it's possible I'm even more of a Middle-Earth fanatic than I am a Martin Freeman fanatic! ANYTHING else he's in I get totally antsy when he's off-screen, no matter how good the overall production is (DARN YOU LAST-JOHN-WATSONLESS-THIRD-OF-SCANDAL-IN-BELGRAVIA!)-- THIS time, even though there was a disproportionate LACK of titular Hobbit in this Hobbit movie, I BARELY noticed: I was like "MIDDLE-EARTH!-happy-happy-happy-smiling-happy-ohlookmyfavoriteactorBONUS!-happy-happy-happy...." A LEETLE bored by wizards and necromancers, but that was my only "but why can't we get back to the OTHER scene?!" moment. So yeah, I loved it, but I can't speak for anyone else. My geekitude, which even I wasn't entirely sure about before, has become fully exposed.

About Kindness

Now to get serious for a moment. Last week YA author Ned Vizzini killed himself. Considering that I've never actually READ any of his books, and considering how little I tend to react to most other deaths and atrocities in the world, it's surprising exactly how much this shook me up. Or not. I've already written about how sensitive I am to suicide. There's something about being destroyed from the inside out, it's scarier than external enemies. Demons are absolutely the most frightening of monsters, because they attack from the inside, too. Dementors are by far the scariest monsters in Harry Potter, because they're basically a metaphor for this whole thing-- MENTAL ILLNESS, eating you up from the inside.

Anyway, somebody wrote a perfect comment on the obituary at The A.V. Club-- so perfect I printed it out! It summed up my own feelings, though perhaps more crassly than I would. So if you don't feel like clicking through, I just want to highlight his* last paragraph for you: "So let this be my New Year's resolution, my goal. For every artist like Ned Vizzini who loses their battle in the end, I vow to work twice as hard at making my craft better, out of respect for what they've managed to do despite their challenges and to in some small way keep them alive, by working on their behalf to create something new that otherwise might not be."

That is EXACTLY the way I felt when Diana Wynne Jones died, though she wasn't a suicide, just a sucky lifestyle choice (HAVE I EVER MENTIONED HOW MUCH I HATE CIGARETTES, TOO?!). But this time, maybe because I hadn't read his books, it wasn't the carrying-on-the-ART vow I wanted to make. I vowed, with all my heart, to work THAT MUCH HARDER to counter negativity in the world. To counter negativity-- and this is the important part-- not with MORE negativity, but with KINDNESS. To devote my life to spreading Kindness (as opposed to my usual, ineffective Niceness). To embrace everyone, with all their faults, and hold them up, out of the darkness.

So Now for my Christmas Wish

Which brings me back to my Christmas Wish for you, and for the world. Every year I post this song. Many of you have it memorized. Many of you have listened to it once before. Many of you weren't following me last Christmas, or you just never bothered to listen. But this time I'm serious. I want each and every one of you to spare three and a half minutes to let this Christmas Wish seep into your consciousness:

Wishing you the most genuine of Peace and Love from me to you. Merry Christmas

*(the commenter struck me as male, but I could be wrong. He's a he in my head. If she's not, and she/you are offended, you can set me straight.)
rockinlibrarian: (christmas)
I knew there was something significant about today's date, and now I remember: it's the 95th anniversary of the birth of the woman who wrote my favorite book and the 12th anniversary of the death of the man who wrote my favorite song. That's a lot of significance for one day. (Just listened to the latter sing the words "All the world is birthday cake" which could be for the former. IT ALL TIES TOGETHER).

Nowhere I have to be for a few hours at least, nothing I have to do except get the kids in the shower once they're done with breakfast (they got into my cousin's cologne yesterday. This will require a serious soaking), and I have a horrible cold, so don't really WANT to do much. Don't really want to SIT here, even, except mentally I'm in a place where I just feel like talking to you today. It's been two months. (Have you missed me? If you missed me, tell me so, it will make me feel useful. Then again if nobody missed me then I'll be more depressed than if I hadn't bothered to ask, so maybe not. But now I won't know whether you didn't miss me or DID miss me and are just trying not to enable my neediness).

Yesterday was Thanksgiving, so of course it's proper to start out by being thankful for Madeleine L'Engle and George Harrison. And for once I feel like telling about personal events, as if this was a journal again more than a blog. My aunt had hosted Thanksgiving, and, well, pretty much everything, for many years because she had a house for it, but this spring she moved to a place more suitable for Just Her and a Cat or Two. But her son manages/lives above a restaurant/bar/thing, so he offered the run of the place for all of us for Thanksgiving this year, instead (I'm sure he didn't intend to offer the run of his cologne in this package, but what's a holiday with small children without the makings of a holiday with small children?). It was a maze of rooms, so quite easy to lose yourself/ small children in (they had themselves a surprisingly difficult game of hide and seek. Don't think they'd ever played in a place with so many good hiding spots before). But everywhere you went, you ran into someone else, so you never were COMPLETELY lost. And they certainly had the facilities for feast-preparation, although in our family no one is ever in charge of ALL the cooking. I brought bar cookies that I overboiled the ingredients for, making them ROCK HARD (I actually broke one of my best knives trying to cut them!), but luckily there were enough other desserts. We had pumpkin pie, pumpkin cake, a REALLY DELICIOUS pumpkin trifle made by a woman we just found out is the fiancee of one of my cousins so YES MA'AM WELCOME TO OUR FAMILY YOU MAY ALWAYS BRING DESSERT, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin dip, and pumpkin ice cream. Also a few other things that weren't pumpkin.

I simultaneously love holidays and get infinitely frustrated by the way other people react to holidays, too. Every so often this week there's been someone on the "Thanksgiving is offensive because that whole Pilgrims-and-Indians-happy-feast-myth is so PROBLEMATIC" train. Which is not a fault of Thanksgiving at all. It's the fault of people who insist on having preschoolers make feathered headdresses for a Thanksgiving craft. CANADIANS have Thanksgiving-- in October-- and it has NOTHING TO DO with Puritans at Plymouth. It's what it IS-- a harvest feast to give thanks for being able to eat and all. And I'm pretty sure that's how most people celebrate Thanksgiving, anyway.

Then there's the "Thanksgiving is early Christmas" thing, which was even more tricky this year since Thanksgiving WAS also Hanukkah, and "Hanukkah is Jewish Christmas." Look, I love Christmas more than ANYBODY.* ANYBODY I KNOW, at any rate. But I'm not ready to get in the mood for the holiday season until NOW. People always laugh about how early Christmas stuff comes out in STORES, but this year I saw SO many Christmas lights out on PRIVATE HOMES TWO WEEKS AGO. Of course, maybe they celebrate Hanukkah and were only prepping for THIS week. I guess we don't really know. I just hope they KEEP those lights up until at LEAST January 7th. Come on.

But on the complete opposite hand, a couple weeks ago my coworker who "shares" social media duties with me (okay, anymore SHE does most of it, and I just pop on whenever I have an idea) posted a picture of the decorated tree we have up in the library with the message "Our holiday tree is up and decorated in Dr. Seuss characters thanks to our local girl scout troop." And on our Facebook page, someone commented, "Don't you mean Christmas tree?" Since our Facebook page is linked to my personal Facebook account, I got a notification as soon as this comment was posted, so I responded, "Well, it's a little early for Christmas-- Thanksgiving and Hanukkah aren't even for another two weeks! We have a lot of other holidays to celebrate before Christmas!" This turned out to be the Exact Right Answer, earning both an in-person thumbs-up from my coworker for handling the comment so well, and a Facebook thumbs-up from the commenter for an explanation she could live with: her response was "I was really just hoping you guys weren't going the way of (what seems to be) everyone else, by not acknowledging Christmas at all...glad to hear you're just trying to extend the joy. ;)" And I'm like, really? That's the whole POINT of using the term "holiday season," not to cut OUT Christmas, but to extend the joy to ALL the OTHER holidays and traditions of this darkest-time-of-year. Christmas is December 25! But Dewey Decimal Day is December 10, and that's an important holiday, too! Okay, maybe not important, but worth celebrating (the last thing I did at work before leaving on Wednesday-- we were closed yesterday and today-- was making a "December" sign for our monthly holiday books display. There's a LOT of holidays this time of year! And it so happens Dewey Decimal Day is one of them). Worrying that there's a War on Christmas because it's acknowledged not to be the only holiday in December is like worrying making gay marriage legal will destroy straight marriage. Wait, that's usually the same people doing the worrying.

Then there's people who get stressed out about holidays. I just want to say "WE DON'T CARE! Let us people who DON'T get stressed out about holidays handle everything! We'll ALL be happy!" I was angry with my husband yesterday because HE'S one of the grinchy types, and he said, "Are you okay? Is this just your usual holiday depression?" "MY holiday depression? I wouldn't be depressed a bit if YOU weren't so grumpy." Luckily he mellowed out by the time we reached my family's party and he had a couple superb German dark beers. But anyhoo, I really think that. Holidays would be so much more pleasant for everyone if the people who got stressed out over holidays would just sit back and let the holiday-lovers take care of stuff.

So, I hope tomorrow we can do the Thorough Once-a-Year (or close to that) Housecleaning that must take place before the Christmas decorations (and Advent, and New Years, and St. Nicholas' Day, and Dewey Decimal Day, and Jane Austen's Birthday... you know, the HOLIDAY decorations) can come out, but I do have this awful crappy cold and want to go to sleep. And now it is much later at night than when I started this, so going to sleep would be a pretty good idea.

I'll get back to you again SOMETIME before Christmas (I refer here to December 25): I've been meaning to tell you about the book I'm reading/working through. For one thing. Also, who wants to go see Catching Fire with me? Jason says he'll go to the theaters with me for Desolation of Smaug (even if that IS the one with my Imaginary Husband in it), but he doesn't care to see Catching Fire in the theaters... which is just a shame that he didn't care for the first movie, because I KNOW if he read all the books he'd REALLY appreciate the worldbuilding of Panem. But ah well. Girl date! Or boy date! I don't know of any boys who read this who actually live near me though, so never mind them. Whatever-gender-you-identify-with non-spousal date!

---
*That links to a post that links to almost every OTHER post I've ever written about Christmas, so it seems most convenient. Except for the post I wrote last year, since it hadn't happened yet.
rockinlibrarian: (roar)
So I'd been meaning to post pictures from other events this summer, but this time I must NOT let it slide. There is far too much to see. See who Maddie is pointing to?

That's right! Even the three-year-old knows the Statue of Liberty when she sees her!
massive amounts of photos under the cut )
rockinlibrarian: (beaker)
She scrubbed the dishes with the coarseness of her frustration, her mood as bitter as the ginger-venison aftertaste hanging out on her tongue. Why did her life still feel so completely out of her control? How could she be doing so much BETTER, and yet she hadn't really GOTTEN anywhere? And why wasn’t she eating something sweet right now? She could go for something sweet. Not dessert, just... a cookie, maybe.

Her eyes fell on a fortune cookie on the counter. She'd brought a couple of fortune cookies home as favors from a wedding last weekend. She'd thought she'd save them for a fun occasion, or a nice treat to share with her husband. But she didn't foresee any fun occasions anytime soon, and she was a little mad at her husband, and a fortune cookie was just the thing to have after stir-fry. Why waste it?

The thing about fortune cookies is, a person has to pick their own. That makes it more truly THEIR OWN fortune. Of course, with two cookies between two people, SOMETIMES each gets the one they would have picked anyway, but sometimes one person’s quicker and the other person just settles for what's left.

Here was just ONE fortune cookie, although the other one should have been around somewhere. This one had a hunk broken off inside its wrapper, and a bit of paper with blue lettering poked through (she averted her eyes. NO SPOILING. That was one of the rules, too). It seemed like SETTLING, just eating this one cookie because it happened to be there, when there WAS another cookie to choose from, somewhere. She really ought to see them both before she chose.

She found the other one, still whole, under a blue tea-towel. She set it beside the broken cookie and gazed at them together, trying to pick up a vibe. It felt snobbish to pick the whole one over the broken one. The broken one cried out, "Be kind! Pick me!" But that had been the one that was out there all along! The one she would have SETTLED for! After she'd gone to the trouble of finding the other one... obviously THAT one was the real choice, the PROACTIVE choice. And proactively, she grabbed it. She tore off the wrapper and neatly cracked the cookie in two. Cookie halves in one hand, she slid the slip of paper out with the other and opened it between her fingers.

Just one sentence, printed in blue, on one side of the slip.

"Thank you for coming to our wedding!"

She paused, then picked up the broken cookie. The blue words peeking though the crack appeared to say "Thank you for coming to our wedding!" too.

She shrugged.

And she ate both of them.


-----
PS-- Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] elouise82 for editing.
rockinlibrarian: (roar)
Our town, as I've mentioned, time and again, likes to go overboard for the 4th of July. This year I decided I'm posting some pictures.



This, for example, is a horse-drawn hearse:

Because you need a picture of a horse-drawn hearse. It was the coolest thing in the parade, after all.

But what you really need is video of my daughter dancing to a polka band:

Click, I can't get it to embed without it ERASING HALF THIS ENTRY for some reason

--

Okay anyway, so remember when I went to my friend's house the other weekend and it was awesome? I'll give you some pictures of THAT, too!

Here's my crab cake sandwich meal:


And here's the frog that had to be rescued from the pool while "Rainbow Connection" was TOTALLY PLAYING:


There. Now your day is made. Carry on.
rockinlibrarian: (roar)
I have had the BEST birthday-- weekend-- in many years. I'm not even sure where to begin-- if there's some overarching introductory paragraph I can make, or if I should just go in chronological order. Or I'll do it in order of What People Want to Read About, so they can drop out whenever they feel like it.

Part 1: My Reactions to the Hunger Games Movie, So I Can Get That Out Of the Way for People Who Don't Actually Care About My Real Life

Getting back to our discussion of what makes me accept or not accept a book adaptation, I have to admit I never thought I would actually fault a movie for sticking TOO close to the source material, but in this case I'm pretty sure that's my only problem with it. It felt a little TOO much like it was illustrating the book, scene after scene after scene, to the point where I felt like the story arc was suffering, and I actually thought, "I think I would be getting more into this right now if I HADN'T read the book, because then I wouldn't already know what's happening." Some of my favorite bits were scenes that WEREN'T technically in the book-- the times they would switch to showing the things happening outside the arena, with the gamekeepers and the sponsors and the districts and the TV commentators. I thought I even wanted a little more of that. I thought maybe the plotline SHOULD have been chopped up a bit more, just to make it feel more movie-arc-like.

On the other hand, my ACCEPTING of an adaptation DOES require a trueness to character, and here the movie EXCELLED. Any fears I originally had about casting were completely unfounded. Even Haymitch wasn't as off as I feared-- Woody Harrelson had said some things that made me wonder if he COMPLETELY DIDN'T GET the character, but he wasn't distractingly off after all, though I do think he was a BIT too comfortable with the Capitol folks still. But for the most part, right. Peeta nailed the stuff that makes Peeta so awesome, without actually being cute enough to make me have disturbing thoughts about a sixteen-year-old, so that's good. And Jennifer Lawrence CLEARLY joins the ranks of People Who Have Completely BEEN The Book Character They Were Portraying EXACTLY PERFECTLY RIGHT. And Rue. Oh, Rue. I remember when they first showed the non-character photos of the people they'd cast, she was the only one of whom I immediately said "YES. That's her. That's the one in my head." (Which is ironic when you hear about all the weird racist talk going around about her. I DON'T KNOW WHAT BOOK THEY WERE READING! This was TOTALLY the girl in my head!) But she didn't just LOOK right, she WAS right, and there was totally not enough of her. They needed to find a way to add more Rue. More!

So on the whole, I give it a thumbs up. It's not my favorite movie or even favorite adaptation, but it serves the book well enough for me.

Part 2: In Which I Become The New Owner of a Nook Color, So Can't Continue Pretending I Am Far Behind The Rest of The Free World Technologically

My parents babysit on Fridays, so when I came home from work that day I found a feast of cheese lasagna, colorful garden salad, and Italian bread all prepared for me. There was also ice cream cake (to be fair, Jason got that, not my parents), a balloon (which Sam had picked out), and the house was all clean. Also, my parents were TAKING THE KIDS WITH THEM FOR THE WEEKEND. Then they handed me a present, and this turned out to be a refurbished Nook Color.

I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING.

To be honest, I did not see much of ANYTHING coming. My parents give me birthday presents all year long on fridays. They have fixed so many things in the house that need fixing, put up new shelves, CLEANED, gardened, brought me plants, done laundry, made dinner, and of course just taken care of the KIDS every week. They are giving me PRACTICAL gifts all the time. They are awesome. But they went for FUN for my birthday this year. TOYS. NOT QUITE SO PRACTICAL, aside from being, you know, still mildly practical.

Admittedly, I want it more for magazines and blogs and Twitter and junk more than for books. I'm still a paper-book person. But coincidentally in the past week I'd been recommended TWO, TWO separate works only available as eBooks, and now I have the opportunity to GET those! Also, it automatically came with a couple sample books, and I thought it was very considerate of it to give me Pride and Prejudice. OBVIOUSLY it was thinking of me personally, and not just randomly giving me one of the most widely regarded novels in the public domain or anything. I found myself distracted by about five chapters of that while I was trying to set everything else up.

Some people say multi-format readers distract people from book reading. The books on my multi-format reader were distracting me from doing the other junk I wanted to do.

Like it came preloaded with a Pandora app. I haven't been on Pandora for about four years, since I worked at the branch library nobody ever came to until we closed it so I ended up playing music on my computer to keep me company. But I logged in and it immediately launched into Pink Floyd. IT'S SO SWEET THAT PANDORA REMEMBERS ME AFTER ALL THIS TIME. So I spent most of that first evening listening to Pandora and reading social media sites. Yeah. Books. Whatever.

Of course, touchscreen typing is extremely annoying. Actually the touchscreen is finicky in general. It keeps thinking I'm tapping when I'm trying to scroll, or not tapping when I am tapping, or tapping more than I actually did, or otherwise being obnoxious. Which means I may COMMENT less if I'm reading stuff on the Nook instead of the computer. That might be... WEIRD.

But who knows, it might become something I get quite handy with once I start toting it around, which I'm afraid to do before I get a case for it. I'm determined to get a cover that says "DON'T PANIC" in large friendly letters on the front. SERIOUSLY, THIS HAS BEEN MY NUMBER-ONE REQUIREMENT FOR AN E-READER SINCE WAY BACK WHEN E-READERS WERE MOSTLY THEORETICAL. I KNOW someone makes them, somewhere, on Etsy or something. THEY MUST EXIST. But because they are not in the Barnes and Noble online store, I haven't found one yet.

Part 3: In Which I Finally Get My Long-Needed Mini-Vacation

So as I said, my parents took the kids with them for the weekend Friday night. So I awoke Saturday with no kids, husband off at his weekend morning job, and NOTHING REQUIRED OF ME FOR THE WHOLE MORNING. I spent extra time journaling, even pulling a writing prompt, which turned out to be making a writing-inspiration playlist, which ended up inspiring me less to write and more to play the piano, so I ran downstairs and PLAYED PIANO for quite some time, which is really something I can only get away with when I'm the only one home, because I'm terrible at it. I play piano for ME. I hurt the delicate sensibilities of anyone trying to listen in. Then I grabbed some cereal and caught up with Community on the computer while eating breakfast. Then I did bills, which sucked, but that was pretty much the only thing that sucked about the day.

Jason came home and made me an omelette-- it was a pepperoni omelette, one of those shockingly greasy concoctions only a man could come up with, but dudes, he MADE ME AN OMELETTE-- and then he had a Skype date with his friends for gaming, which was fine because just a short while later I left for a movie date with my friends. Even driving the long distance in my car all alone was enjoyable, because I had my Imaginary Husband on audiobook to keep me company-- did I mention that? Awhile back someone pointed out to me that, speaking of the cover I fully intend to get for my Nook, Martin Freeman had done audiobooks of books 2-5 of the Hitchhikers series, SERIOUSLY WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME ABOUT SOMETHING SO PERFECT SOONER?-- and so I've been ILLing them and listening in whatever moments I actually get to myself in the car, which is mostly my Wednesday commutes. (And guess what, not only is he STILL Absolutely Perfect as Arthur Dent, it turns out he's PERFECT AT EVERYONE ELSE, TOO. Because he's JUST THAT AWESOME). Or this very long drive to the movie theater.

I picked a very large theater just on the other side of the city, because it was a fairly central location to all the friends of mine who are also scattered around the Greater Pittsburgh Area, who also wanted to see The Hunger Games because they'd all read the book when *ahem* I told them to way back when. Also, it was right next to a bunch of nice restaurants. It was a mini college reunion. Even my old roommate who now lives in Baltimore showed up, because she happened to be in town for family stuff this weekend.

Honestly, I think I may have to thank the Prozac for this going as well as it did. I found myself ANNOYINGLY tongue-tied a lot, because my brain and mouth don't connect properly (I say this as explanation to the people who only know me online. The REASON I don't shut up when I'm typing is because I'm TERRIBLE at talking out loud. I have to let it out where I can let it out. Which is not out loud. That's where the whole WRITING thing came from). Now the old, non-drugged me would likely have become very nervous about this, and started to worry that maybe this whole idea was a disaster and I wasn't meant to have real-life friends, and then I might have panicked and possibly got all teary-eyed if I managed to talk myself into enough of a funk before someone distracted me. But drugged me could roll with it, and realize that EVERYONE WAS TOTALLY HAPPY TO BE THERE.

REALLY happy to be there, in fact. The only ones who could stay to do dinner with me afterward were two other mothers of two young children, and we all so, so needed that afternoon off. With other geeky friends. Everyone kept thanking ME for putting it together, and we kept saying we REALLY needed to do this more often. I actually thought of, and mentioned, [livejournal.com profile] elouise82 at this point-- she's another mother of two young children who could really use an afternoon off with geeky friends, but is very far away and I've never actually met her. But I think she belonged in that one empty seat at our table, in spirit. Definitely fit our theme.

The table, I'm sure you would like to know, was in a Bravo! Italian restaurant. I had a creamy pesto rigatoni dish that was quite nice, and then they brought me gelato with a candle for dessert. We'd actually originally tried to go to a Chinese place, but even though it was only 4:30ish, they already had a two-hour wait. The Italian place sat us right away. Still good!

Jason and I just hung out the evening watching The Two Towers while playing with the Nook-- okay, I was-- and eating leftover ice cream cake. Then this morning I slept in. I REALLY slept in. I am still torn between whether this was a WASTE of another Morning To Myself, or just what I needed. Because when do I ever sleep until nine?

Today was a much less luxuriant day-- I had church, which was Palm Sunday and so Extra Long; and I had to go to the grocery store. But then I went off to my parents' to get the kids (listening to my audiobook again on the way), and they made meatloaf with mashed potatoes and carrots and homemade hot spiced applesauce, which was seriously just like apple crisp without the "crisp" part. So that was nice too. Sam fell asleep on the way home, so they went straight to bed when we got here, and I've been typing to you ever since. NOW I think I'd better go to bed myself. It's back to the same old same old tomorrow.
rockinlibrarian: (tesseract)
Series Intro: to celebrate the 50th anniversary of my FAVORITE BOOK EVER, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, I am filling 2012 with BLOG POSTS EXPLORING EVERY POSSIBLE ASPECT OF THIS BOOK IN GREAT DEPTH. I call it the Year of the Tesseract, and you can see what I've written already by clicking the year of the tesseract tag. There WILL be spoilers for Wrinkle and possibly other books throughout. So just go read it, already. Moving on:

IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT: pictures under cut, for people who still read this on a friends page and can see this cut )
I APOLOGIZE THAT I CAN'T GET THE PICTURES TO DISPLAY CORRECTLY. Turn your monitor sideways when necessary.
rockinlibrarian: (beaker)
This is going to be one of those posts where I just ramble a lot, because that's pretty much all I have the brain capacity for doing right now and I'm out of things to read (says I, in a library, with Internet access)-- actually maybe I lack the brain capacity for reading and that's why I'm writing, but it's rambly writing because I lack the brain capacity to make sense.

See I was GOING to write you my belated Valentine's Day post on the romantic elements of A Wrinkle In Time-- YES, THEY EXIST, just ask the billions of Calvin fangirls who are all apparently coming out of the woodwork for this 50th Anniversary thing. While plotting THAT out in my paper journal, though, I started thinking about a DIFFERENT love story-- the one between ME and THE BOOK. And I decided to write an ADDITIONAL post about the experience of Falling In Love With Ones Geekdoms. But could I write EITHER of these when I actually sat down at the computer this afternoon? No, I could not.

I never know exactly how honest to be, emotionally, online, because on one hand I feel there's an inherent NEED TO BE MODERATELY ENTERTAINING in my online presence, because why else are perfect strangers reading what I have to say unless there is something moderately entertaining about it? And if you're going to be depressing, you ought to at least be a bit snarky or ironic or at least beautifully poetic about it. But sometimes you don't have the energy for that, and you realize that you talk to all your friends, whether Real Life OR Strictly Online, through social media, and when you want to say Hey, HELP ME, I'm dysfunctional, to your friends-- or SOMEBODY, just in case somebody CAN help you, or maybe just so you have that CONNECTION, that SUPPORT SYSTEM that everyone's supposed to have-- what else are you going to DO but post something online? If you're the kind of person who is deathly phobic of the telephone, that is, and has no friends in your actual town.

So then I get hung up, torn between the need to make a connection and the need to Not Be Whiny. And end up not typing anything.

But it's later now-- quieter here-- and I've napped and private-journaled a bit since this afternoon, so it could be safe for me to talk in public again. Keyboard-talking. Actual verbal talking is hindered by me being REALLY FREAKISHLY THIRSTY AND I LEFT MY WATER-BOTTLE AT HOME. But keyboard talking is easy enough because there's not much I have to do except keep signing off on this girl's AR quizzes. Sixth grade, reading a pile of picture books just to rack up points by the half point. Oh, AR, how I still loathe thee. I haven't complained enough about AR in awhile.

But at the moment I'm still mostly preoccupied by how freakishly thirsty I still am. There IS a water fountain. Way at the other end of the hall. By the time you get back, you're thirsty again. AND THERE IS PIZZA WAFTING FROM THE TEEN PROGRAM ROOM. WAVES OF GREASY, SALTY, NITRATE-LADEN NON-THIRST-QUENCHING AIR. And Maureen Johnson and Kiersten White keep talking about milkshakes on Twitter. I should stop looking at Twitter. Until it comes with a milkshake dispenser. I did mention this library is named after a man who made his fortune selling chocolate and ice cream? Which includes milkshakes? They're good milkshakes. We don't actually sell them at the library though. I got a spontaneous Frosty with my Wednesday Wendy's Lunch Stop yesterday. It was just one of those days where you say, "You know? Today I just REALLY WANT A FROSTY." So I did.

Now that I've gone off on my stream of consciousness posting, I'm obviously required to tell you what I dreamed about last night at some point now. EXCEPT I CAN'T REMEMBER WHAT I DREAMED ABOUT LAST NIGHT BECAUSE I FORGOT TO WRITE IT DOWN FIRST THING. AND SO NOW IT'S GONE. Also it probably wasn't as interesting as usual. Oh, that reminds me, does anybody remember the name of the Indian professor/scientist from Heroes? Because he was in my dream the night BEFORE last, and the fact that I CAN'T REMEMBER HIS NAME has been bugging me ever since. I kept bumping into him and accidentally kicking his jacket which had fallen on the floor, because I was stuck in a time loop that kept having me run down the stairs that he happened to be walking up, and it always seemed to loop back to just that spot. I was stuck in a time loop in order to prevent some revolutionaries from detonating some weird little bomb in this shopping mall, except every time time relooped it turned out a DIFFERENT revolutionary had the bomb, and it was all very confusing, and I kept kicking Dr. Whatshisface's jacket, who by the way didn't have anything to do with the revolutionaries, he was just there. Before that they'd let the giraffes out of the zoo to rescue people who'd been stuck in an avalanche. They cleared the snow with the heads on their long necks, much like backhoes.

Now my friends, I have passed enough time with idle banter. I have to start closing up shop. So I'll leave you with this: which post do you eventually want to get first: the Actual Romance IN A Wrinkle In Time, or the Romance I Have With Things I Love In General, which will include discussion of the Hierarchy of Geekitude? Or, would you like me to ever rant about Technology vs. Ecology, which I intended to possibly a month ago? Or, some other post I said I might type but never did? What would you, dear friends, ACTUALLY READ?
rockinlibrarian: (sherlock)
Oooo, thunderstorm. And I am the only person on the second floor of the library. Oddly delicious.

Now that things have slowed down after the initial Everyone-Go-See-the-New-Library-NOW! rush, and summer programs are all underway, I find myself sitting patiently at the children's circ/reference desk completely catching up on all my blog reading, and the reading of LINKS from blog reading, until I really just end up ravenously collecting links to pictures of Sherlock filming (this one was particularly awesome today) and melting into a puddle of Martin-Freeman-induced fangirl goo for several hours (OMG, Martin, STOP being so adorable already! That level of adorableness should come with some kind of warning label! Every dumb little face you make sets me one step closer to leaving my husband and murdering your wife!... or... something. *ahem*) (of course the Hobbit pictures are even worse. Seriously, is he not the most adorable hobbit in the history of the world? AND THAT'S WITH SEAN ASTIN AND BILLY BOYD AS COMPETITION! Dangit I do have a thing for hobbits, don't I); SO obviously I need to use this time to start writing those brilliant blog posts that took several days to compose and were actually ABOUT things again.

Though last week I did give you a delightful recipe for tabbouleh (which, by the way, if you copied it down exactly the first day I posted it, I should point out that I edited it since because I forgot the cucumber. DON'T FORGET THE CUCUMBER, FOR GOSH SAKES. It's TABBOULEH. It NEEDS CUCUMBER!). That was actually a pretty good entry, if you like tabbouleh.

But what I mean is, I had all these brilliant philosophical bits going for awhile there, posts that took some manner of thought and drafting, or at least required me to list a whole bunch of books and characters and write entirely too much about each. I think I may even still have some of these potential blog posts in partial draft form, somewhere. But the library move threw me off, and now I've lost my train of blogging-thought. As if my blog ever had a train of thought.

Still, here I am, and I enjoy chatting with you, and I hope you also enjoy chatting with me, and that you actually READ me. I know I say that with self-conscious whiny-ness fairly regularly, but I'm here thinking of my family and friends who are mostly on Facebook and don't have time to read blogs anymore. I wonder, does anybody LOVE me? just like when we used to get home from someplace and there'd be no messages on the answering machine and my sister would go "NOBODY LOVES US!" (She hates when I bring that up, by the way. She claims she never did such a thing. But she did. Really).

So the question is, if you ARE here and reading this, what kinds of posts would you like to see more of in the future, that you would actually take time out of your busy Farmvilling to read? Toss me some subject matter! It will be fun!

And if you AREN'T here and reading this, leave a comment anyway! It's always good to know when someone isn't reading you.

Also, I'll give you candy. I won't, actually, but you can pretend I am. Virtual candy. Step right up!
rockinlibrarian: (librarians)
I haven't posted much about my Tween-and-Teen Programming this summer. See, our library's Big Thing is our SRC camp-type weeks-- week-long programs for elementary kids culminating in a big field trip-- or large in-house event (we're having a Multicultural Fair tomorrow)-- on Friday. I did my best to be there and involved every day last summer, but with two small children it was NOT HAPPENING. Properly. So this year I'm keeping to my I-get-babysitting-on-Wednesdays-and-Fridays schedule, so I'm there to help chaperone the Friday events, and I pitch in with book-and-storytime activities on Wednesdays.

But in the spaces on Wednesday I've started some weekly activities for older kids. There's a book discussion group that meets for pizza over lunch-- I have a couple regulars for that, but neither were there this week, which is kind of awkward. But the COOL-- and more popular-- program is in the afternoon, Wild World Wednesdays. The Summer Reading Club theme this year is "One World, Many Stories" (TECHINICALLY for teens it's "You Are Here," but sticking with the 'Round the World theme is the interesting part), so this program is basically Making Things From Around the World. Every other week is a craft, every OTHER other week is FOOD!

I did not hold back. I wanted these to be Genuinely Cool activities, not wussy elementary-school cut-and-paste stuff. The first week we did marbling. Week two, we made crepes. Week 3, batik. Yesterday, we had a Pita Party, which basically meant we made a lot of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dips and spreads and such and served them with pita bread and pita chips.

IT WAS AWESOME. I went a little overboard-- surely a sensible library program would focus on, like, ONE recipe, which is for goodness sakes cheaper; but I've paid for a lot of this out of my own pocket JUST BECAUSE I WANTED THE EXCUSE TO MAKE ALL THIS FOOD. We made hummus of course (not one of my favorite foods, but kind of inevitable), and tzatziki (which IS. One of my favorite foods I mean), and baba ghanouj (which is just fun to say), and a feta spread, and tabbouleh. The tabbouleh turned out PARTICULARLY awesome-- so very fresh, and it SMELLED so good, and all the teens were as enthusiastic about it as all the adults they shared it with at the front desk.

It is so perfect for summer, with all the ingredients in season, so here, for your pleasure, is the recipe we used:

Tabbouleh

--2 cups cracked wheat (bulgur)
--1 onion, peeled and chopped
--4 large tomatoes, chopped
--2 small or one large cucumber! (thanks, Emily!)
--about 1 cup chopped scallions
--1/2 cup olive oil
--juice of 2 lemons
--1 tsp salt
--1/4 tsp pepper
--6 T chopped fresh parsley
--3 T chopped fresh mint
--romaine lettuce and pita bread for serving

Rinse and drain cracked wheat according to package directions. Combine with remaining ingredients, and serve on top/with lettuce and/or pita.

You'll thank me later.

Anyway, next week is Huichol Yarn Painting, followed by pasta sauces (probably pesto and an asian peanut sauce at this point, but I haven't made up my mind yet), then papermaking, then stir-fry. Every Wednesday-- when I'm currently working from 10-4:30 with a break until six and then back on children's reference desk until 8-- I wake up in a state of mild panic-- but by the time Wild World Wednesday has gotten underway I (and everyone else) am having so much fun that I wonder what I was afraid of.

Oh yeah. The whole Teenagers-brandishing-knives thing. It is frightening as a general concept.

But doesn't work out all that bad in the end.
rockinlibrarian: (hi maddie)
Well, here I am again with a collection of bits to post because you miss me and so I must post something. Well, I will pretend you have missed me. It hasn't been PARTICULARLY long, but it feels like it a bit. I've had a lot less computer time this past week and a half-- it's amazing how much computer stuff I accomplish while on reference desk. This is NOT (dear employers or otherwised concerned) to imply that I don't actually do my WORK while on reference desk. But I get a lot of Internet read while there, too. And as I haven't HAD a reference desk for the past week and a half (OPENING DAY IS TOMORROW!), I've been as obsessively reading-- or skimming-- my favorite blogs as much as possible in whatever time I can squeeze in at home, which means I also haven't been typing anything. Imagine.

Today we went Strawberry Picking at a pick-your-own farm. Maddie reminded me very much of Little Sal (we must go Blueberry Picking next month), and it is only luck-- or the fact that there simply were no bears around-- that kept her from wandering off after a mother bear. Sam was very enthusiastic at first, but it took me awhile to figure out what he meant when he was trying to say that he wanted to Pay With the Strawberries Now. By the time I DID comprehend his pleas to go home, we had filled about half of our ten-pound volume basket (and none of the now-stained basket Maddie had carried and added berries to, kaplink, kaplank, kaplunk, before eating them). Five pounds fresh beautiful little berries-- plenty for jam and a few more besides.

In other completely unrelated news, I was rather amused by Robin McKinley's latest post, because she basically draws the exact same conclusions I drew in my Learning to Sing on Paper post the other week, but in the opposite order! Because she of course already knows how to write. :P

Speaking of authors, I just got an email notification informing me that "@dduane is Now Following [Me] on Twitter." SQUEEEEEEEE! Too bad I don't say anything intelligent.

Fifthly (I think), the other day I actually got TAGGED in a LIVEJOURNAL SURVEY HICKEY THING. Wow! How very 2007! I did comment once long back that I missed those surveys. Then [livejournal.com profile] vovat actually posted one about a week later. But I was very busy that week, and the survey was full of those embarrassingly perverted questions written by teenagers who think they are more amusing than they are, which really didn't seem to match the happy professional family-friendly vibe I seem to have developed on my blog in recent years, anyway, so could I really justify doing the dang thing? Well, THIS week (or last, or something) [livejournal.com profile] vovat did another one AND TAGGED ME DIRECTLY, and also, the rules apparently aim to fix these problems:

Rules:
* People who have been tagged must write the answers on their blog and replace any question they dislike with a new, original question.
* Tag eight people. Don't refuse to do that. Don't tag who tagged you.


I LOVE the concept of replacing questions! Except what's the definition of "dislike"? Questions I actively DON'T LIKE ONLY, or can I also replace questions that are mildly boring? In which case, why bother taking a survey at all? I could just write a new survey. I always wanted to write a survey based on the Dewey Decimal System. But I definitely don't have time for that.

actual survey under the cut for people who don't care )

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