Sunday, September 21, 2008

Random Quote Sunday: Rhythm and Rhyme

Guess what state I'm in? (Beyond the state of confusion or exhaustion, I'm an almost permanent resident there.)

Clue #1: It's not Wisconsin.

As some of you know, I like dance music. My-Friend-the-Lawyer often sends me mixes and tracks he thinks I should hear and I have a YouTube list that I usually have running when I need to zone out and get down to work. DJ Steve Boyette also does some nice stuff. But it was a long week this week and by Thursday this was indicative of my mood:

"The dance music isn't working. I'm not perky."

And a bit of a story today for you. An acquaintance of mine just welcomed a second child. Beautiful healthy boys, both. And they've chosen traditional names.




And...I'm a children's librarian. (Hands up if you can see where this one is going--and yes, you're required to sing along.)

May I be the only person whose first reaction on hearing the baby's name was to exclaim, "John Jacob Jingleheimer-Schmidt...his name is my name too...." and then stop and look really really guilty.

This is what happens when your brain is full of nursery rhymes.

Friday, September 19, 2008

PW and the Ever Growing Holds List

While it takes a concentrated effort for me to get through most of the review journals (School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, etc.), usually involving a house/trance/techno soundtrack and a full jar of coffee (32 oz), Publisher's Weekly is my brain break, easily skimmed through and passed on to the next person even during the more frequent of interruptions.

It's also where I get caught up on what's coming out from the adult authors I read. As I think is the nature of most of us--I see my library almost exclusively as my place of work. I don't come here during my off hours to browse the shelves for new things, even though I should. Other than the occasional quick pass through the new books shelves, I rely almost entirely on the PW Bestseller's lists and other RSS notifications to warn me when I should be putting something on hold.

My library allows us to have ten holds at a time. At present I have only nine, but I picked up two items today and placed another hold within about five minutes of retrieving those holds from the ever patient front desk staff. And of those holds? Eight haven't arrived at the libraries yet, may not have been published yet. But I'm waiting for them.

Holds lists are a fabulous invention. It lets me reserve something when I think of it or come across it, even if someone else is already enjoying it. I don't have to only scour the shelves at my local location, I can grab from any and everywhere around my consortium. And very patient staff grab the books I want, bring them to me, and check out my items for the third time this week.

Speaking on that, I need to go place a hold :)

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day

(yes, another video--please click through if you're reading this via email)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Brain Break: Sticky Notes

Thanks to Susan!!

EepyBird's Sticky Note experiment from Eepybird on Vimeo.

Library Society of the World

Chadwick recently did a very nifty Pecha Kucha* presentation on the Library Society of the World. And he quoted a brilliant librarian (cough cough *me* cough cough) around 4:28

*Pecha Kucha = presentation style where you present 20 slides for 20 seconds each. Total of 6 min 40 seconds. After your almost seven minutes, you're done.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Weeding with a Vengeance: The Last of the Music CDs

(The first part of the saga.)
Ahh the tracking of the elusive music cd. It's a slow hunt. A REALLY slow hunt.

My latest printout was about 40-50 sheets long. Truth be told, I didn't count. I just found out the hard way that it is taking me on average about 10 minutes per page to track down the cds that weren't on the shelf if there is nothing else distracting me. And I have 12 pages left at present count.

The process for each cd that isn't checked off yet:

Is the cd checked out?

If no, when did they get returned? If within last 10 days, I will assume it is actually here.

If they are recently returned or checked out--do I need to see them/pull for replacement? If yes, mark on list in green (if in) or place hold (if out).

If they are "in" but haven't been touched in a couple of months and weren't on the shelf when I went through it--go to another screen and mark them as missing. If someone returns/checks out the cd, they'll go back to regular status. If not, we'll look around a few more times and then there will be some pruning. Either way, once in a missing status patrons can't put holds on them, so there are fewer disappointed patrons and consequently, fewer frustrated staff.

One line at a time--and some of these pages have a full half page of stuff. The good news is that a surprising number of the cds that weren't on the shelf were checked out. I was envisioning a far greater number of missing records. I hadn't realized that many parents and kids were picking up music. Yay that.

And that money I got to replace cds? Well....let's just say I went a little over budget. So I have a healthy "back up list" that I'll pull from once we know final prices on the cds and probably well into next year's budget.

It's been a pretty hefty amount of work but, all in all, once I finish, it will have been just over a week. Not a bad time investment considering the return is happier staff who can find cds patrons ask for and hopefully happier patrons who can find enjoyable music on cds that are in good shape.

So I think it's worth my time, even if I still don't understand why the previous selector bought five copies of the Chicken Little soundtrack.

(For that matter--neither does she)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Random Quote Sunday: Blame the Kitchen

"I can't appliances won't let me."
--Apparently every time M goes away one of her appliances goes bananas. When she went to France it was the kitchen sink. She just got back from Germany and it's the TV. I suggested that excuse for her next business trip.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seven Years....

Apparently the first draft of this post got eaten, so if it shows up twice, I apologize.

It has been seven years today since I, with classmates, huddled around televisions wondering what exactly had just happened. I'm still not sure I have the answers, though the memories of those days are some of the most vivid from my undergraduate experience.

A year later, my choir and I, with thousands of others, would gather together to sing Mozart's Requiem. We'd performed it in spring of 2001 for our semester concert, which eased our preparations fifteen months later. That day we each wore the name of someone who killed in the attacks--mine was the name of a firefighter who was the cousin of a close friend of mine.

For Lee, and the many other victims:

Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Weeding with a Vengeance: Music CDs

I hadn't appropriately weeded the music cds since starting my tenure here at LPL. It's not something I have a huge budget for and much of that budget has been siphoned off by Hannah Montana, the Jonas Brothers, High School Musical, and replacements. Children's music cds, as with many other children's things, get used and broken pretty regularly. Not a horrible fact but hard on the cd budget.

But then, as we looked at budgets last week and a little migration of some funds, we found some moveable money for my sad little section--and so it was time to weed and replace.

I spent six hours on Monday crouched, sitting, squatting, hunching--choose your verb--over our low blue bins full of music cds. I filled half a bin with "weed", buried my desk under "try to replace" and filled another bin with "send to the branches." The ones that landed on my desk were ones that had circulated more than 50 times--Mary Poppins had circulated 101 and 104 times on the respective copies. Time for new ones!!!

With sore back I retreated to my desk and made an executive decision. If it had circulated more than sixty times and I couldn't replace it, with a few exceptions, it was being weeded. There is enough children's music to be had without sending out scratched cds or leaving them sitting on the shelf looking grungy. We are, after all, magpies all of us--looking for what is new and shiny.

I hadn't really thought about how badly the music section needed to be weeded until Aide Miss S showed up behind my shoulder around five p.m. and exclaimed how much better it looked. This followed by Aide Mrs. D on Tuesday, who popped in to tell me how fabulous the music section looked and how much easier it was to shelve. Okay, got it, hint taken. Should have weeded a while ago.

At present I'm almost through the cd piles that were on my desk--then I need to go through the CDs that have come back in the last two days (16" pile) and check them against my list. (Then Aide Miss S gets to shelve those--she'll be SO thrilled.) Finally I have to go through my giant list and see what's out that I need to put on hold to weed or replace and what's missing. I think we may not have a good sense of what's gone and I'm about to have a great big trace list.

Back to the trenches.

Hedgehogs in the News: Blondie...

RAPatton pointed me towards today's link

Rare blonde hedgehog nursed back to health

Blonde, brunette, albino--there's all kinds :)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Random Quote Sunday: There's a Reason We're Friends

If you skipped last weeks posts, well--you missed some awfully pretty pictures. But when you put Tech Sergeant and I in the same place/conversation for very long, something crazy is going to come out.

"It's proof of how long we've known each other: he can see the skepticism through my sunglasses."
--Me to TS's dad. Did you see how big the sunglasses I was wearing were?

"Death and despair and lizards and such"
--Tech Sergeant's description of Nevada

"Here fish, fish, fish, fish..."
--My tried and true fishing call. I will attest that it worked, I caught a trout, much to the relief of the patient guide who kept telling me I was casting appropriately but the fish just weren't biting. JB was awesome.

"I'm impassioned about 25 cent tacos."
--Tech Sergeant, why he wanted the Rockies to win.

"There was bat movement and then he looked displeased."
--It's better than my play-by-play of football.

"I aspire to be your desktop."
--Me in full hipwaders, it's the closest I'll get to being a calendar girl.

Friday, September 05, 2008

5 Minutes is All That Stands Between Me and Chocolate Cake 5 minutes. I wonder if I have any cocoa in the kitchen.

A Little More Colorado....

I promise, this is the last of the vacation picture posts....

So, remember a couple of posts ago I mentioned climbing up a rock structure after the Tech Sergeant? This would be what we were climbing. We did not do the entire structure, obviously, but you can see here why it's called a fan.

On the way home we stopped by a small church (St. Catherine of Siena) that seems to be rather secluded among the hills. A gorgeous structure though--my flash in the near dark doesn't do it justice. Pope John Paul II stopped here one time.

And for whatever reason my flash registered the light shining on the front of the church as green. It wasn't quite this spooky (although...I enjoy the spooky nature of the photo). The church was surrounded by several little streams that all fed into a lake/marshy area. It was also built on an enormous boulder.

It was quite a trip, filled with so much natural beauty that I don't think one can fully comprehend without actually seeing it in person. But I hope the pictures give you some idea.

I headed back Tuesday (after catching the Rockies vs. Giants game Monday and enjoying a hot dog at the very gorgeous stadium) and it's back to library deadlines for me. I almost found my desk on Wednesday and hopefully by the time this posts I'll be back towards "caught up." Maybe.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Natural Beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park

My third day in Colorado, after alpacas, we drove into Rocky Mountain National Park and up the mountain trail. It's a single car wide hard pack dirt road that winds you up through the mountains. Relatively tight turns and constant climbing, along with quite a number of stunning sites to pull over and photograph the view. Some of these are out the window of the SUV, some are when we would pull over and hop out. These are only a few.
It felt like you could see forever

Even in the last days of August there was still snow

They let you climb 200 feet or so up to the top of this mountain. Our hearts were racing on the climb from the lack of oxygen but once at the top we were okay. We were above the treeline. What does it say about humans when we climb above where the trees can't grow?

Oh....right--that we like an incredible view.

On the way back down we caught this pretty lady by the side of the road. Many of the cars stopped and people hopped out to take pictures as she had a snack and then crossed to the other side.

Picture Book You All Should Read: Angel Girl

Angel Girl
Laurie Friedman
Ofra Amit (illustrations)

I was nearly in tears when I finished this book a few minutes ago and considering my teen librarian's similar reaction--get thee to thy library.

In a brief story that is all the more poignant for it's simplicity Friedman tells of a young Jewish boy interned in a labor camp. Nearing starvation he one day spotted a girl through the fence. She gave him an apple and each day--for months--she would return to bring him an apple. After liberation he moved to England and then the United States. A friend set him up on a blind date with a young woman who seemed familiar. Over that first dinner they realized that he had been the boy in the camp and she, the girl who brought him apples.

Amit's illustrations are simple and painfully evocative. While guards are present in the drawings and do carry weapons, they are not the focus and your eye is instead fully caught by this young boy trying to survive.

A beautiful story, very accessible for early elementary aged students. Go find a copy.

ETA 12/29/08: The "true" story behind this picture book has been revealed as something a Holocaust survivor made up for unclear reasons. *sigh*

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Climb Up the Mountain; Slide Down the Stream

I'll probably have to break this into two/three posts--it's very picture heavy. And if you have no interest in what I do when I'm not at to move along for a couple of days. These are the dreaded "look at my vacation photo" posts. Just be glad I'm not forcing you to sit through all 180 pictures that are on my computer (150 of which are being slowly uploaded into Flickr).

After nearly ten months of planning (last year before Christmas) the Tech Sergeant and I headed for TS's parents' place in Colorado. They are about 30 minutes out of Boulder, with an absolutely incredible mountain backdrop outside the windows. I'd never been that far west before (Minneapolis and Des Moines just don't feel west to me, for all that they are on the other side of the Mississippi) and the difference there was just amazing.

Somehow I'd forgotten the elementary studies of Colorado where they mention that it's a desert. Along with Denver being a mile above sea level, which my lungs took note of but didn't complain about too much, it's dry. We never went anywhere without a bottle of water or three and of course all of that hydration meant I took quite the tour of powder rooms across the Longmont/Boulder/Denver/Estes Park area.

Our second day there I was pried out of bed at a wholly unreasonable hour to go fishing. The hour was made only slightly less unacceptable in that I gained an hour flying out. But I'd promised and so I duly suited up in hip waders and followed our knowledgeable and very patient guide into a stream. This particular stream happens to be one of many that comes from snow melt. In late August it was very chilly water.

(Tech Sergeant in the Blue Hat--Me--and Guide JB)

I'd never been fly fishing before but enjoyed the meditative quiet of it, casting and trailing the line. And while I would have been most content with that--I did catch a fish.

No worries, he's still swimming. Trout where we were are catch and release only and I was very happy to let this one swim away.

The next morning was my turn to pop out of bed bright and early--for while he wanted to take me fishing, I wanted TS to go with me to the alpaca festival. And thus, with Mom and Dad (his not mine), we headed up to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park.

(Tech Sergeant and Me)

After petting lots of alpaca and some alpaca yarn purchases (so pretty, so fluffy and soft) and after alllllmost talking his mom into a gorgeous felted alpaca coat (and an alpaca or three...), we had lunch in Rocky Mountain National Park, by the Alluvial Fan, which was created in 1982 when a natural dam broke and sent water and boulders hurtling through a pass. TS decided he wanted to climb up to one of the ridges and so he and I charged up the side of the mountain. (These shoes ended up being perfect for this kind of gallivanting up rocks and down cold streams.) Here's the view from where we stopped--if you blow the picture up we started at the small wooden bridge in the bottom right corner.

Now that we'd achieved up---we had to navigate down. Did I mention we were standing next to a stream?

The water had made a lot of the huge boulders very slippery--so what we couldn't climb down we just slid down. Made it to nearly the bottom in one piece--and then waded out in even more frigid water than the day before for a photo op (not on my camera). The water was COLD!!!

Meg, who patiently let me shove my camera in her face, is here to tell you there's more...but in another post.

Food Meme: Whatcha Eating?

Shamelessly stolen from the WarMaiden, the meme of the day is: Food.

This is a list of 100 foods that every omnivore should eat sometime in their life. The idea is to bold the ones you've eaten.

I'm not especially picky (except for the whole seafood/fish thing) and the only known allergy is mushrooms, so let's see how I do...

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue (EVERY chance I get! Love it!)
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart In New York, we called these "dirty water hot dogs," because the flavor was best when the water hadn't been changed in awhile. And omg they're awesome.
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes Cue Deana carter singign "Strawberry Wine"
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream Gross. Dad liked it. Well, he ate it. Pretty sure he only ate it because it was the only ice cream we kids wouldn't touch.
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O -Shots
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects (On purpose?)
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut (the best when they are warm and it's 8:00 a.m. on Sat a.m.)
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail In a lovely garlic butter sauce. Mm.
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam (don't remember it but I know my dad fixed it for us a couple of times)
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Conclusion: The non-swimmy thing definitely cuts down on the list...and there are several of these I think I could live without. But an interesting prospect.