Friday, December 26, 2008

Xmas Meme

My friend, Netter, tagged me a while ago, and I've been so out of things (grouchy, petulant, self-absorbed) that I didn't even know til just now! So, here's me, finally catching up. . .

1) Wrapping paper or gift bags? The tradition in my family, for as long as I can remember (so at least 40 years) has been, as much as possible, to wrap box lids and re-use the boxes with fresh (or gently-used) ribbons. Problem this year: we've had Xmas other places so much these last few years that I have no pre-wrapped boxes in the house! Gift bags are nicely re-usable, though.

2) Real tree or artificial? Artificial. I think I've had a real tree, maybe, 5 times in my life. For the past several years we've mostly used a very cheap 4 ft. artificial tree that I got on sale about 20 years ago. It doesn't even come close to fitting all our ornaments, but I like the way it looks in our front window, put up on my grandma's old sewing machine stand. We leave the lights on and store it, with lights, in a big garbage bag. We also distribute extra ornaments around the house on anything that has something sticky-outy and could hold an ornament. I love the haphazardness of it . . . and we have a tendancy to find random ornaments for months after, in odd places where Simon has hung them.

3) When do you put up the tree? After Thanksgiving, on a weekend when we have time.

4) When do you take the tree down? Usually at or around the beginning of January. One year, when Si was little, and we had a big tree in the livining room and the small tree in his bedroom, we left his small tree up til late Summer or later. Yea, we're just lazy that way.

5) Do you like eggnog? I think I've only tried it once or twice. I think I liked it, but to be honest, it's extra calories I don't need so I never buy it or take it if offered. I'm just as happy with black coffee or straight alcohol. :-)

6) Favorite gift received as a child? I’m not sure … the crocheted afghan my Aunt Ginnie made for me. It is what is now called "Rainbow Blankie" in my house, ever since my son stole it from my bed.

7) Hardest person to buy for? My brother. He keeps his thoughts/desires/feelings very close to the cuff, and is so un-assuming about wanting things that he almost never admits to wanting anything.

8) Easiest person to buy for? My mom. She loves what I love, so it's always a joy to buy/knit for her.

9) Do you have a nativity scene? I would love to have a larger collection of them, but we really have no room. I have 2 sets that are grown-up-ish (one plain stained wood silhouette set, one is the set from my childhood), 2 kids sets (one is almost like little tykes, the other is printed/stuffed cloth that my mom assembled) and a few smaller, self-contained creches.

10) Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Stomach flu - about 6 years ago.

11) Favorite Christmas Movie? I love Christmas movies! I love "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Christmas in Connecticutt", even though they're both pretty schmaltzy. For TV specials, you can't beat "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "Charlie Brown". I'm a sucker for shows that highlight the true meaning of Christmas.

12) Favorite Christmas song? Angels We Have Heard on High (I love the Glo-o-o-o-o-o-rias!)

13) Travel at Christmas or stay home? We used to stay in town for Christmas when Si was younger, but now we travel. Each year's agenda is different, but we hit both sets of our parents. This year we're just now ending 3 days w/Mike's parents and heading home. Saturday we'll go to my family's for about 6 days.

14) Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes, why not? I’m all for recycling!

15) Favorite ornament theme or color? I prefer hand-made or ornaments with some kind of special significance (like ones we've found on vacation or ones from our childhood). I also have a special collection of pewter ornaments from Wendell August Forge that I display on long strips of red felt, hanging on the wall. I love them so much that I am considering leaving them up all year this year. Mom gets me one each year, and has for over 20 (nearly 30?) years.

Netter said to tag 5 others, so here goes:
. . . and anyone else who reads and would like to do the meme - you all know how I love memes!

I'd love to tag both my moms (Hi Mom! HI MIL!), but neither have blogs. Please, if you're up to it, post answers in comments?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Poetry Friday!

Vacation Day

A peaceful way to knit and play
and move us t'ward this Christmas Day.
A mom's tradition, tightly held
allowing me to clean and meld.
I knit some gifts, the flour sifts,
the gingerbread with tangy wiffs.
My friends can come, the house is done,
contentment when the battle's won.

~ Cat

Several years ago, not able to take time off right at the holidays, I took a week at the beginning of December. It was bliss! Taking a few days off now means that I approach the holidays with MUCH less stress and worry. The house is ready (even though we're not really having guests this year), the gifts are bought (and I'll start wrapping soon), and I have time to finish knitting gifts (don't expect pictures til after they've been gifted!). I'm not baking much this year because of WW, but I will make Dad his sweetroll, and Si will want to make some sugar cookies, I'm sure. That'll happen next weekend. Although this week has been different than in past (had to work Mon. afternoon and Thursday, spent Tuesday with a good friend going through Chemo), it's been a blessing and a joy.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Quick post since I'm tired tonight:

  1. I found the perfect edging for a thing I'm making for someone I love, and I did it by experimenting . . . all by myself (and abandoning all the tricky patterns I'd gotten from The L.
  2. Chocolate chunk cookies, warm for when Si arrived home from school.
  3. Both DH and Si enjoyed the marinade I put on the chicken - several "mmms".

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Deco and Bolo

We've decorated for Christmas! We might still try some outdoor lights, but the indoors is about as decorated as it will get, short of all the gifts being wrapped and under the tree!

It takes us about an hour to deco. We have a small artificial tree that we just pull out of a garbage bag, with the lights still on from year to year. Then we put as many ornaments as can possibly fit on (hanging 2-4 per branch and some from the bead garland, too).

We put Christmas music on the computer, decorate the tree, and then Simon, the self-proclaimed "crazed 14-year-old decorator" ran around the house hanging miscellaneous decorations wherever there's a place to hang something (ornaments on the lamps, etc). He also set up all the nativity sets (I have several - I sorta collect them).

I did hang some holly boughs on each of our doors, though, as our outdoor decos. It looks pretty, but the ugly, dirty screen doors sorta dull the effect.

The Bolo Ceremony
Today we went to a banquet for Simon to be awarded his special bolo for leadership training. Actually, it wasn't just going through the week of training in August, but to earn the bolo, the boys needed to set some high goals back then, and meet them (and have leaders sign off) by the end of October (or something like that).

I'm very proud of him for doing all of that! His goal was to work with his Bible Study leader to increase attendance at their gatherings, and he did!

Don't you just love handsome men in uniform?

Friday, December 05, 2008

Poetry Friday!

Christmas is so close now
I feel the deadline looming
I must do all my shopping,
the cleaning and the grooming.
There's so much still to do,
I can't quite fit it in.
So now I must prioritize,
Make lists and categoricize,
Knit this, clean that, now knit a hat
I wonder if it's this boy's size . . .

Or maybe what I need to do
Is focus on what I know is true.
This holiday is ringing clear,
Spend time with those that you hold dear.
Don't worry about each speck of dust.
Baking more sweets is not a must!
Find time to nurture, time to hug,
Slow down and spend time close, and snug.
Presents are nice, and cookies, too
But more important, is being with you.

~ sappiness brought to you by Cat, herself.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Holiday Cheer!

This lovely little house belongs to my in-laws. If you look closely, you can see an enormous Holly tree in their back yard, peeking (well, maybe towering) above the roof.

We spent T-giving with my in-laws. We drove down to Marietta, OH on Wednesday, cooked all morning Thursday (yay - I love doing the Turkey and stuffing!) and had great food (if I do say so myself).

We had fun with some games of "name the best . . ." which we love to play, and we played dominoes and Shanghai Rummy.

Simon is now taller than both of his paternal grandparents - and he loves it!

These vases are in Zanesville, OH, and it was a surprise find for us. I love it when you see something lovely and new on a "old" path.

Then we drove home on Friday. I had to work yesterday, but I got to slip out a smidge early so we could catch dinner before going to see Christmas Carol last night with our friend, Jeri K. Fun weekend! Today is a "clean, launder, organize, grow-up and pay bills" day.

This little church was on our route home, and I've always loved little wooden churches in the country. I took this from the parking lot of the gas station. Glamorous, huh?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Poetry Friday (day late again)

Week before Thanksgiving,
I limp around real strange.
Huddle in the corner,
As though I have the mange.
All the other turkeys,
Just gobble, gobble on.
I'm silent, and I act
As if my gobbler's gone. Everyone is thankful
On Thanksgiving Day.
Friday it's forgotten.
You all go on your way.
I know what thankful is
So listen when I say.
"It's great to be a turkey,
After Thanksgiving Day."

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

tile mosaic

I need to figure out how to save this as a vid and embed it, but til then . . . go to this site, and click on "View Replay" in the mid, right side . . . then you can click on the little plus sign to make it go faster.


I started with Celebrities . . .

And ended by meshing me and Si - creepy.

Playing with the hair mixer . . . fun!

Heck with the hair - when can I just get one of those celeb bodies?

How Dewey Do?

I nicked this from ridiculology while trolling through random blogs from participants in the Learn & Play initiative at work. Yes, I spend my home-time doing stuff like that - I'm just that boring.

Anyway, it yielded this cool meme, and you know how I love memes!

caterwauller's Dewey Decimal Section:

675 Leather & fur processing

caterwauller's birthday: 7/11/1964 = 711+1964 = 2675

600 Technology

Health, agriculture, management, public relations, buildings.

What it says about you:
You are creative and inspired to make the world a better place. You can work hard on something when it catches your interest. Your friends have unique interests in common with you.

Find your Dewey Decimal Section at

Plans for the next few days:
  • knit a lot
  • enjoy being with my MIL and FIL (I do love them!)
  • cook a fabulous meal Thursday (I love having the luxury of time to cook a big meal!)
  • stick to my Wonder Woman Training!
  • Read a book or two!
  • Post another poem on Friday
Think that's too much for just 3 days off?

Monday, November 24, 2008


  1. It's my brother's birthday today, and I know he knows I love him.
  2. I call my husband to tell him I'm late and he says "I hope you're not angry with me, but I ordered some pies from one of the Boy Scout Moms for a school fund-raiser."
  3. Dinner is waiting, warm, on the stove when I get home to a blissfully empty house. Sometimes even extroverts need quiet.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Times are A'Changin'


Again, 3 beautiful things:

  1. Delicious apricot preserves, no sugar added, make my pork chop perfect.
  2. Seeing my son bouncy and energetic again after a week of being a sick slug on the couch.
  3. I opened the mysterious package in the front room Friday to reveal NOT a present I'd bought for someone else ('tis the season, afterall), but a totally surprise present for me. Made my eyes moist with wonder.

When I Grow Up . . . .

Many years ago, I was temporarily "in charge" of the place where I worked at the time, and someone on the work team said I was powerful and it was going to go to my head. I said "Yes, I am She-Ra, Princess of Power!" It sort of stuck a little, and I still refer to myself as She-Ra as needed.

Well, I was talking to a dear friend last week when I was giving myself a pep talk to finally go back and re-join Weight Watchers. I was calling it WW to save typing time, and he said -

"Don't think about it as a diet - consider it Wonder Woman Training."
It is working! It has cheered me up to think of this, and to have this image in my head all week. Well, now I have my own Wonder Woman Bobble-head doll to remind me that I am doing something powerful! He must have ordered it while we were chatting, because it arrived a short 7 days later. Thanks, my friend!!

Even superheroes like She-Ra can use some cross-training sometimes, right?

Being a Mom

This is very clever, frighteningly true, and had me laughing as loud as possible when the rest of the household is still asleep!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Poetry Friday!

Only one day late this week - I'm improving!

This week, one from Robert Burns

The wintry west extends his blast,
And hail and rain does blaw;
Or the stormy north sends driving forth
The blinding sleet and snaw:
While, tumbling brown, the burn comes down,
And roars frae bank to brae;
And bird and beast in covert rest,
And pass the heartless day.

“The sweeping blast, the sky o’ercast,”
The joyless winter day
Let others fear, to me more dear
Than all the pride of May:
The tempest’s howl, it soothes my soul,
My griefs it seems to join;
The leafless trees my fancy please,
Their fate resembles mine!

Thou Power Supreme, whose mighty scheme
These woes of mine fulfil,
Here firm I rest; they must be best,
Because they are Thy will!
Then all I want—O do Thou grant
This one request of mine!—
Since to enjoy Thou dost deny,
Assist me to resign.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Before and After Hair

Well, my twitter pals are all chomping at the bit to see my new hair, so I will oblige! I don't care much for the pictures, but honestly, who really cares?

You all (most of you, anyway) know what I look like, and I'm no glamour queen, for sure! So I made my poor, sick teenage son take some Before pictures - lol - from the couch this morning. Note the large comb - how I usually wear (wore!) my long, straight hair.

Then I asked the Stylist at Kenneth's to take a few shots after.

I love the way the back looks. The real test is tomorrow . . . and a week from now . . . to see if I'm actually able to make it look good by myself. Yes, it really is naturally all those colors. Mostly grey, but some of the brown and blond bits can still be seen. It's very swingy!

Blog Scavenger Hunt

I got into knitting because of blogs, and I starting blogging more because of knitting. Funny, huh? Anyway, a couple of years ago I did a fun Knitting Blog Scavenger Hunt, and I thought it would be fun to spin off from that for a new scavenger hunt inspired by Learn&Play at CML. Please join me! If you're reading this, you're tagged. Let's see how many L&P bloggers we can link to!

Da Rulz:
  1. Use a different blog to answer each question.
  2. Be sure to include hot links in your answers, and if you're referencing a specific post, be sure you're linking to the permalink for that post (not just the general blog addy).
  3. Not every linked blog needs to be a Library person or a L&P participant.
  4. If you do this meme, please come back here and give me a link so I can read it!

Da Thingz to find:
  1. A blog written by someone who lives close to you physically.
  2. A blog you read written by someone you've never met, but would like to.
  3. A blog written by someone who has the job you used to have, or the job you wanna have someday.
  4. A blog entry that made you think about something a new way.
  5. A blog entry that made you laugh so hard your co-workers and/or family asked to know what was going on.
  6. A blog from someone you've known a long time but haven't hung out with in a long time.
  7. A blog or post that inspired you to start blogging (or just written by the person who got you going).
  8. A blog from someone you never thought would be blogging.
  9. An article/post/site that you think could change the library world.
  10. A blog you've found that makes you feel great every time you read it.

My Answers (left off the main section for your cut & paste pleasure . . .):

Da Thingz to find:
  1. A blog written by someone who lives close to you physically. Maggie!
  2. A blog you read written by someone you've never met, but would like to. My friend, Cat in the UK
  3. A blog written by someone who has the job you used to have, or the job you wanna have someday. The Sock Princess - she's retired and can do whatever she wants (mostly knitting, but not posting) all day. I've also always wished I could be a stay at home mom (added bonus: being in a cool foreign country)
  4. A blog entry that made you think about something a new way. Michael always gets me thinking in new ways. This is just one of many times.
  5. A blog entry that made you laugh so hard your co-workers and/or family asked to know what was going on. Shelf Check almost always makes me laugh. Although most of her posts are her own comic, the other day she posted a great vid of Carol Burnett as a Librarian - with Lucille Ball!
  6. A blog from someone you've known a long time but haven't hung out with in a long time. A long time ago, I worked with Jim and Annette. It's been fun to catch up again online.
  7. A blog or post that inspired you to start blogging (or just written by the person who got you going). Janis was the first person to talk to me about blogging after she went to the Internet Librarian Conference, years ago, but GottaBook, Don and Gerald really inspired me to do more than I'd been doing.
  8. A blog from someone you never thought would be blogging. I'm so excited about my co-workers who have started blogs! Yay Linden Team!
  9. An article/post/site that you think could change the library world. It may seem like a small thing, but how we market ourselves could really change our future.
  10. A blog you've found that makes you feel great every time you read it. I look forward to reading Post Secret every Sunday. I don't always feel happy, but it always makes me think. I've just recently discovered this blog from a former CML-er that makes me smile every time I visit - fabulous photography!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hair today Gone tomorrow

I'm going to get my hair cut tomorrow. Significantly cut! I've been brewing about it for a couple of years, and it's time!

I've done a bit of reasearch, and it's a tie between this and this. Of course, mine will be much more gray than the models. I should have thought to put a poll on the sidebar, but now it's too late cuz my appointment is in . . . 10 hours. I'll post before and after pictures tomorrow!

(Don't worry, Mom, I won't go purple (again) tomorrow)

Monday, November 17, 2008

3 beautiful things

1. First snow of the season, making the inner city look beautiful.

2. Street-tough teens coming in with smiles because they've just twirled in the falling snow.

3. My young customer, named Unique, comes to hug me so she can get some of my warmth.

For more beautiful things, and the creator of the idea . . .one of my favorite blogs.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Poetry Friday! (2 days late - sorry about that!)

Today I like you to a poem about food by Ogden Nash:

The Clean Plater

Here is an excerpt:

Some Singers sing of ladies' eyes,
And some of ladies lips,
Refined ones praise their ladylike ways,
And course ones hymn their hips.
the Oxford Book of English Verse
Is lush with lyrics tender,
A poet, I guess, is more or less
Preoccupied with gender.
Yet I, though custom call me crude,
Prefer to sing in praise of food.
Yes, food,
Just any old kind of food. . . .

. . . Never mind what kind of food.
When I ponder my mind
I consistently find
It is glued
On food.

I post this to declare that I am now an official Weight Watcher member - again. Sigh.

If you Give a Mom a Morning

If you give a mom a morning off, she's going to want to brew a pot of coffee.

But if she's going to brew coffee, she's going to have to clear off the counter first.

She'll have to put things away, and if she's putting things away she's probably going to put dirty dishes into the dishwasher.

When she sees that the dishwasher is nearly full, she'll walk through the house looking for the rest of the dirty dishes to put them in, too.

Some of the dishes in the kitchen will need to be hand-washed, so she'll get those done. A

nd, because the dishwasher is portable and will be in the way while it's running, she'll need to get the coffee on before she moves the dishwasher.

When she goes to put the coffee on, she'll need to hunt in the "sharps" drawer for the scissors to open the new packet of flavored decaff, and she'll realize that the drawer is a mess.

After setting up the coffee to brew, she'll clean out the drawer, leaving even more stuff on the counter.

Then she'll pour her coffee (done by now), get a drink of milk "just in case", and set up the dishwasher to run.

Finally, she'll sit back down at the computer to drink her coffee and enjoy her morning off, just in time to welcome her Boy Scout home from camping . . . .

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Humbling Lesson

I attended a community awards ceremony tonight. It was all about awarding people in the neighborhood where I work for doing great things. They have a Beautiful House Award, a Beautiful Business Award, a Public Servant of the Year, a Young Athlete of the Year, etc. I love going to this because it reminds me of the best of the people around me.

This year, I cheered and clapped as the kids went up. YOu know me, I always love seeing the kids being honored. One of them, a High School Senior, won a Young Scholar of the Year. She has excellent grades at Linden-McKinley HS, and a list of other activities, accomplishments and volunteer work as long as both my arms together. It was really impressive!

After the ceremony I happened to share a table with her mother as we enjoyed some refreshments . . . and here is where I was humbled. Along with this young woman's mother, I also met her 2-year-old daughter.

Yup - you read that right - that amazing, bright, gifted, giving young woman is also a mother. She plans to become Bill Gates someday. She has dreams and goals and is already well on her way to making them a reality. And she's a mom.

Now, don't get me wrong. I know that we have lots and lots of teen parents in our world, and especially in the neighborhood where I work. I also know we have lots of great, bright, ambitious, talented teens who have high expectations for themselves and meet them. I was shocked at myself for not really thinking before about those young people who are both at the same time.

Kudos to that young woman, and props to her mother, too, for helping to make it all possible. Someone has instilled some important values in that young woman's life, and it's most likely been her mother.

I am humbled, my mind is more open than before, and I've learned a valuable lesson. Not every teen mom drops out of HS and goes on welfare. I knew it before, but somehow in the midst of all my do-goodery, I'd forgotten.

I'll try to do better now.

Cam Mail

Google introduces voice chat and video chat through their email. I likey! This will inspire me to a.) get my webcam out and hook it up again . . . and b.) get my mom to start using gmail.

Wouldn't it be great if we could cam from the library for this kind of thing? What would it mean for us if we allowed camming in public?

Create your own MUPPET!`

You must try this! But seriously - $90? And there doesn't seem to be a "put this on my wishlist" option! Hmm - maybe it'll improve with time.

10 Random Things About Me

Helene gave us all the challenge to do this . . . and, of course, you know I love love love memes and lists!

  1. I marched in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade when I was a sophomore in HS, and it was so much fun! I got to see Jim Henson and Frank Oz while they were doing sound checks before riding in the parade, too. All my friends were excited about seeing Eric Estrada, but I didn't care much about him.
  2. I love Indian food. My husband doesn't like it, but his friends do, so when they want to make me feel special, they take me out for Indian - isn't that sweet?
  3. I think my son is one of the best artists of his age. His drawings are really amazing. Too bad he currently is so obsessed with military history that he's just drawing that stuff. I loves to draw people, though, and his faces get better all the time. They really look like the people he is drawing!
  4. I love naps. I love the luxury of being able to sleep whenever I need/want to. I think I get this from my father, who takes naps all the time now that he's retired.
  5. If a young person asks me to buy something to support their school programs/extra-curricular activities, I will buy something (unless I'm flat broke). I sold so many candy bars and grapefruits and cheeses when I was in band and orchestra that I can't resist helping others in this.
  6. I am friends with a lot of people (no secret) because I like everyone . . . but I have very few close, close friends. I don't really understand why, but it is just the way I am.
  7. I have always wanted to travel around the world, but so far the only other country I've been to is Canada. Sad, huh?
  8. When I was younger, in college and before, I was planning to become a Methodist Minister. I changed my mind as a senior in college. A way long time ago, though, when I was in Middle School, I wanted to be a Librarian. Go figure. Mostly, back then, it was because I loved my school librarians (elem. and middle). Besides, if I can't be a Lounge Singer, I figure Librarian is the next best thing. (I'm secretly holding out hope that I can do both someday)
  9. I break out in song spontaneously. Anyone who knows me knows that I have at least one song rumbling around in my head all the time. My son tells me that not everyone does. Is that really true? You don't all have music in your head all the time? Poor you!
  10. I am not in any nameable generation, really. I was born right at the end of the Baby Boom, and, being the youngest of 3, I really relate more to them than to the X-ers sometimes . . . but then there are many ways in which I really am one of the X-ers. I like to think that those of us born in the mid-1960's have our own little gen going. You know who you are!

Sleeping Well

Ha! I slept so well the night before last that I barely made it out of bed in time to get myself dressed for work! Yesterday was one of those days that never ended, too. Work 9-5, left early to run to the IGA to buy butter before going to Simon's school, helped host the Empty Bowls event (I got the butter for the bread to go with the soup), cleaned up from that, had a quick PTA meeting (all 5 of us who stayed), and then home at around 9:15. Is it any wonder I slept well last night? Now that I've gotten up to get Si out the door, I'm going back to bed for a nap, even!

I just wanted to do a quick post since I missed posting yesterday.

The Empty Bowls event was great. The kids make clay bowls. The parents bring soups. Our great Parent Consultant managed to get a great donation of rolls and soups from Tim Hortons. The school's Orchestra performed. The school's Steel Drum Band performed. The parents and guests buy a bowl for $10 and then get to partake of the soup buffet. It's great!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Can't Sleep

. . . so I might as well fiddle around with my blog, right? KB pointed out this great post by Helene with 4 ways to analyze a blog, so here goes . . .

Typalizer says I'm either a Doer (sorry, lost the script for that, or ISTJ, which they're calling a Duty Fulfiller, which doesn't seem as accurate to me.

says I write like a woman. Go figure.

According to the Blog Readability Tester, I'm still writing at the Elementary Reading Level. Sigh.

And, according to the Business Opportunities Weblog, my blog is worth . . .:

My blog is worth $5,645.40.
How much is your blog worth?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Simon's Cat

There are only 3 of these short animations on YouTube. I'm hoping the director is making more! This one is a perfect depiction of our cat, Sam . . .

LIttle Boxes made of ticky tacky . . .

Yesterday was Sculpey Day! My BFF came over, with her daughter, and we sat around all afternoon playing with Sculpey and getting a jump-start on Christmas Crafting! I kept going until my back hurt too much to keep slouching over the table. I'm covering Altoid boxes. The darkish ones are all intended for men . . . Si's teachers, etc. Suggestions for what to put in them? I'm thinking M&M, or even mini M&Ms . . . any other ideas? I love the way the colors swirl and layer. Sometimes I cover the bottom of the box, too, but honestly, that nearly doubles the time, and taking a poll of the men in my house, I got a 100% that male recipients of these boxes won't give a darn.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Security at Library

Those of you who know me know that I take Library Security very seriously. I am a trainer for my library system, even! I nicked this vid from a colleague's blog because I think it is fabulous! This is the Library, Baby! The Library!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Poetry Friday

I share with you a bit from a poem by Gwendolyn Brooks called Aloneness:

Aloneness is different from loneliness
Loneliness means you want somebody
Loneliness means you have not planned to be somewhere with other people gone
Loneliness never has a bright color.
Perhaps it is gray.
Loneliness does not have a lovely sound.
It has an under buzz.
Or it does not have a sound.
When it does not have a sound
I like it least of all.
But aloneness is delicious.
Sometimes aloneness is delicious.
Once in a while aloneness is delicious.
Almost like a read small apple that is cold.
An apple that is small and sweet and round and col.d
And just for you.

There is more of this poem in the book Hip Hop Speaks to Children - my new favorite poetry book. It comes with a CD, which is delightfully colorful, rich in the sounds of the original poets (including Langston Hughes) reading their work.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Front pages across US

Front pages across US
Originally uploaded by hblowers
I like this collage - what an historic event! It's so cool that we can see other peoples' news online, too. It's an amazing world we live in.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Library 2.0

Well, I have come to another end, also. This is my last official post for the Learn and Play at CML project we've been doing for a few months. You've seen me posting my 23 things, and I appreciate my non-L readers sticking with me! I also warmly welcome all the new readers who may have joined from CML and might, if they're interested, and might keep reading. Welcome! In order to limit my verbosity, I'm going to do a list (also, just because I love lists).

Top Things about L&P at CML

  1. Being able to explore Web2.0. It's given me the incentive to really look into some tools that I'd not used before, and to go deeper into things I've only sampled before.
  2. Encouraging my team to explore - use their backroom time to do some fun things.
  3. Seeing people finding great new tools.
  4. Nifty new flash drive I'll get.
  5. Thinking about ways we can use this technology to reach and serve our customers.

Final Thoughts:
  1. We need to keep moving forward - don't stop here with just 23 things, but keep exploring and stay on the cutting edge. It's not enough to just do this.
  2. When we think about using these tools, we need to remember they are tools, not the end-all and be-all of service. A really good chef's knife can do a lot, but real chefs have a variety of knives they take care of and use. We need to be the same way - the right tool for the project is important.
  3. The cool gadgets aren't the whole answer to the most important question: What do our customers need and want? The first answer always has to be: excellent customer service. The next question, then, needs to be: How can these tools help us give excellent customer service?
  4. How can we continue to find ways to help bridge the digital divides in our community? What do the people in poverty need to know of this stuff? How can we help them access what "the haves" have?
  5. How can we use this technology to promote early literacy (you know that's always in the forefront of my mind!)?
Thank you all for reading!

The End

Finally, we've come to the end of another election season. It's been grueling! Watching network television has been painful for months. Listening to campaign speeches and watching the debates has been trying, although I've done it. Will Obama bring change? Most definitely. Will those changes be good for America? Some will, I'm sure. Some will harm the country, also, I have no doubt. It is the nature of politics. This Great Democracy that we have has it's drawbacks. IMHO the biggest drawback is that, as soon as they get elected, they start campaigning (one way or another) for re-election. Sigh. That is why I must agree with what I heard Thomas Friedman say a few months ago (paraphrasing): 4 years is not enough time to fix what is broken in our country.

So - am I happy today? Yes and no. Since I am an optimist, I will finish this Election Post with 2 happy thoughts:
1. It is extraordinarily uplifting to see an African-American family moving into the White House, and I do think these next 4 years have great potential for moving us in a good direction in some things.
2. McCain gave a very noble, very powerful speech of concession. Again paraphrasing, I love when he said that we need to all move forward together as a united America.

'Nuff said

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

MOLDI adventures - Thing #22

OK - I've tried it. I'm sitting here in my office, knowing I have to work this 12 hour day (at least - hoping we'll continue to have no lines at the poll this evening), and decided to try the MOLDI (Mid-Ohio Digital Library Initiative, where you can download books and movies, supposedly just with a library card) audio book and movie downloads. Grr. If I was at home, I could download all the proprietary software, make all the updates to the players and things that are needed, and download a book or movie. Several years ago when we first got this stuff, I dutifully (and excitedly, really, as I love gadgets) downloaded an audio book and a print book. It was fun, but neither one was any easier than just getting them from the L, and unless I was far away, I might as well just get them through more traditional means and not muck up my hard drive with more software.

So today, I thought "Hey, maybe things have changed in . . . what . . . 3-5 years". So what has changed? Nothing! First I looked for some titles I've been meaning to listen to: Thomas Friedman's Hot, Flat and Crowded - nothing, and then Charlie Brown's Great Pumpkin movie - nada. Sigh. Then I just browsed and found a Lawrence Block mystery I like - got that in the online book - not audio - but it's now on my computer. Big deal, though, as I don't really have a handheld that will hold it and I'm not likely to sit at a terminal and read it.

Then I found a movied I'd be willing to watch, but after about 3 download things, it told me it can't play because I need a newer edition of Window's Media Player. Grr. Same for the audio book. Blah

So what did I learn about MOLDI? It's not where I want it to be, yet, to be a happy user. That said, I do have a good friend who downloads audiobooks all the time because he works really odd hours and ends up not being able to access the physical library much. Understood.

It's not horrible - it's just not yet the product I want to use.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Great Ads

Did you know you can watch all of those great Mac/PC ads? I never realized how many there were, but I've really enjoyed going back and viewing them all.

Another Meme

1. What time did you get up this morning? 4:00 am - time change day

2. Diamonds or pearls? Rubies

3. Last movie you saw? Better Off Dead - watched it last night with Mike on the couch

4. What is your favorite TV Show? Good Eats with Alton Brown (anything with AB is great!)

5. What do you usually have for breakfast? cereal or eggs

6. What is your middle name? Fithian (it used to be Louise, but then I got married and changed it to my Maiden Name)

7. What food do you dislike? liver . . . those innard parts are icky

8. What is your favorite CD at the moment? I've been listening to my iPod, so it's a real mix of folk, R&B, blues, rock & roll, alternative, Christian, Country, and a little rap

9. What kind of car do you drive? Purple PT Cruiser, or our Neon

10. Favorite sandwich? BLT, especially if the T's are good

11. What characteristic do you despise? egotism

12. Favorite item of clothing? skirts with pockets

13. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? Europe or China

14. Favorite brand of clothing? Lands' End

15. Where would you retire? near Simon, I think . . . but that's a long ways away

16. Favorite birthday? I've had a lot of good ones, but my fave have to be the ones we celebrated at Rendezvous - the re-enactments - with a few dozen musicians jamming around the campfire until the wee hours of the morning

17. Favorite sport to watch? I like watching sports live, but I'm not too big on watching them on TV - except I like them all more now that I'm knitting. Oh wait, I do like watching figure skating and synchronized swimming.

18. Beach or Mountains? both!

21. Are you a morning person or a night person? morning (see #1)

22. What is your shoe size? 7 - 7.5

23. Pets? 2 cats, Samwise and Rosie

24. What's your favorite holiday? Christmas for the traditions and music, Easter for the meeaning

25. What did you want to be when you were little? first I wanted to be a nurse because our nurse costume had a blue cape . . . but then I realized that real nurses didn't wear capes (and what's the point, really, w/o the cape?), so then I was undecided for many years until school because our Librarians at school were great - but then in early HS I wanted to be a Minister, but that changed in late college . . . .

26. How old are you today? 44, but I usually feel, in my head, like I'm only 12 or like I"m 100

27. What is your favorite candy? dark chocolate with nuts

29. What day are you looking forward to? Thanksgiving, when I can spend all day making a fantastic meal for my family (well, for part of my family) - seriously - I love having time and room to cook

30. What are you listening to right now? crickets and the breeze

31. What was the last thing you ate? raspberry cobbler - yum - hmm - sounds like a good breakfast food

32. Do you wish on stars? no, not really - I'm more likely to pray

33. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? just one color? I think I"m more like one of the handmade crayons we've made, with bits and pieces of lots of colors in them

34. How is the weather right now? a little cool, but unseasonably warm, considering it's November

35. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Main Library Security when they called yesterday afternoon to check on us after a customer called 911 from our phone because she'd been assaulted down the street

36. Favorite soft drink? Diet Cranberry 7-Up - but I usually drink water

39. Favorite restaurant? Pita Hut, currently - love those falafels!

40. Hair color? brown, light brown, blond, and lots of grey

41. What was your favorite toy as a child? I don't know - dolls, I guess: Barbies, kiddles, trolls, etc, where we made clothes for them and stuff - imaginative play

42. Summer or winter? Fall

43. Hugs or kisses? both - and keep em coming!

44. Chocolate or Vanilla? chocolate

45. Coffee or tea? both, but always decaff

46. What is under your bed? cord for electric blanket and lots of dust bunnies

47. What did you do last night? watch movies on the couch with Mike

48. How many keys on your key ring? 11, but 3 of them belong to a friend for whom we sometimes cat-sit, and one of them is for Mike's bike lock - so I realized I need to clean that key ring!

49. How many years at your current job? nearly 7 years in this position, 21 at the L, total

50. Favorite day of the week? Friday, because if I'm working it's because I will prolly have a real weekend (2 days off in a row), and if I'm not working . . . well . . . I'm not working!

51. How many towns have you lived in? 3 if you count college

52. Do you make friends easily? I make friends easily, but it takes a long time for me to make close friends

53. Who inspires you most? I get inspired by hopeful stories of people who've done great things for other people to make a difference in the world

54. Who do you want to tag to do this meme? Everyone who reads it! Then let me know if you've done it.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

More on the Carousel Pilgrimage

Our trek to NYC last weekend to see and ride the old, restored carousel made the NY Daily News, along with a lovely pack of extra pictures (pic #1 is my cousin, Kim and Aunt Nancy)

Podcasts Thing #21

You know, I've got mixed feelings about podcasts. I love the idea. I love that anyone can basically start their own radio show. Video show, too, if they are vlogging. Thing is, I have a short attention span. I like listening to what people have to say about things . . . but then my attention wanders if the podcast is more than, say, 20 minutes. I've enjoyed Lime and Violet . . . but it's too long for me to listen every week. I've tried Sticks and String, too, but still . . . too long. I think podcasts just aren't for me every day. Once in a while, I can geek out on what other people are saying about knitting . . . but I'm not into putting them on my iPod and taking up my music/book space.

But maybe that's just me?

I do like exploring the directories that L&P suggested. I hadn't really spent much time searching for podcasts before, since the first few I listened to didn't thrill me. It's good to know those sources are out there, though.

Friday, October 31, 2008

You Tube

I don't know what number Thing this is, but I just had to jump on the bandwagon and share a few of my fave Youtube clips. This vid of the Tuttle Kids (Molly Tuttle has a CD out now with her dad, that I love!).

I also like this song a lot - by Molly and Jack Tuttle . . .

And, for a bit of difference, this great and moving song by Labi Siffre:

Poetry Friday!

First off, it's Poetry Friday, and I want to direct you all to one of my favorite "spooky" poems. Little Orphant Annie is by James Whitcomb Riley, and I've always found it delightful. I first heard it performed by my friend, Jeri Kladder, and I will forever hear this poem in her voice. She does a remarkable job (thus my remarks!). Go read it!

I WON! I was at Zaproot, while doing surfing for my library's Learn and Play (Library 2.0) initiative, and I entered my name and addy in a drawing to win a cool bag. The site is all about promoting GREEN stuff, and this bag is really nifty! I can't believe I won! You can see that smooshes into the little stuff-sack to be much smaller than my coffee mug, and . . .

when opened out, it's bigger than my cat! It's like tent fabric, and since the stuff-sack is integrated into the bag it'll always be there. There's even a little carabiner clip (but I'm going to have to replace it because it's already not springing closed) attached. Once I have a new clip, this will be the perfect Bag-To-Keep-With-Me-All-The-Time-So-I-Don't-Have-To-Use-Plastic. :-) As cool as this bag is . . . the coolest thing, though is still that I WON! I WON! I WON!

Speaking of my cat, I've been wanting to get some better pictures of Rosie. Thing is, she doesn't lay around like a slug pose like Sam does. She does, however, like to sample my glass of water before I take it up to bed with me each night. You can see her sniffing, and then looking at me like she's not done anything wrong.

The flash reflecting in her eyes seems so appropriate for The Look. I should have real Halloween pictures posted sometime later this weekend - at least one of Simon. His Bible Study group is going Trick-or-Treating tonight.

What's in a Name?

1. YOUR REAL NAME: Catherine Williams
2. YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (first 3 letters of real name plus izzle.) Catizzle
3. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color and favorite animal) Pink Panther (hmmm - sounds familiar)
4. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (your middle name and street you live on/or neighborhood if it's a number) Louise Blythe
5. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first name) Wilca
6. YOUR SUPERHERO/CRIMINAL NAME: (Your 2nd favorite color, and favorite drink) Purple Mocha
7. YOUR IRAQI NAME: (2nd letter of your first name, 3rd letter of your last name, 1st letter of your last name, 2nd letter of your moms maiden
name, 3rd letter of your dads name, 1st letter of a siblings first name, and last letter of your moms first name
9. YOUR HOOD NAME: (first 3 of your first name and add -iqua) Catiqua
10. YOUR STRIPPER NAME: (first pet's name and first house's street name, or neighborhood if number) Sammy Shorehaven (sounds more like a mob name, so I"m going to use current information) - Rosie Blythe (there, isn't that better?)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Literature Map

My friend, Jim, posted a cool meme . . . and you know I can't resist memes! For all the L bloggers who read this, please note that this Literature Map link came from a non-library person - go civilians!

A simple, two-step approach for generating your own, fully personalized, 21st century, Web 2.0-based reading list:

  1. Make a list of the top three books that have influenced your life, and make a note of the authors’ names
  2. Visit Literature-Map, plug each author name into the text box (one at a time, naturally) and generate a cloud of related authors. That ought to keep you busy for a while!

Thanks for playing. Have a nice day.

My list of 3 life-changing books (I won't include the Bible, although that continues to influence my life):

1. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. (map) (Oh, you like Sendak? Have you read Sylvia Plath yet? LOL)
2. Charlie Parker Played Be-Bop by Chris Raschka. (map unavailable because the site hasn't heard of him before)
2a. (to replace Charlie Parker) Book Thief by Marcus Zusak (map)
3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. (map)

I'm a librarian, so, predictably, I can come up with a VERY long list of books that have changed my life. I limited myself, though. :-)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


If you want to see more of the pictures I took of the carousel . . . have fun!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Great Long Weekend!

I drove up to Youngstown (Boardman, really) on Wednesday, to my parents' house. Early Thursday morning, Mom and I got on a bus, were joined by my second Cousin, whom I call Aunt Nancy and her daughter, Kim, and went to NYC.
(picture shows Nancy, Mom and Kim)

It was a long trip, and there seemed to be several delays, the most dramatic of which was when the other bus blew a head gasket (whatever that is) and started billowing nasty smoke, just before we reached the Lincoln Tunnel. We were late to dinner at Pellegrino's in Little Italy.

The folks on the other bus missed dinner (they packed it up and loaded it onto our bus for them for later), and we were late to the show (Chicago, which was great, but missing my favorite song sucked). But, I haven't laughed so much in a long time. Aunt Nancy and Kim and Mom are EXCELLENT travel companions!

The main reason we went to NYC was for Friday morning . . . to see and ride the restored carousel that was the carousel of our youth. Idora Park was a smallish amusement park, originally constructed to entice people of 1899 to the end of the streetcar line in Youngstown. When I was a kid, we used to hold backyard fund-raising fairs to raise money for Muscular Dystrophy and get free tickets to get in to the park.

The carousel has now been restored (took her 22 years), and is in a warehouse in the DUMBO district of NYC. It is now being called Jane's Carousel, for Jane Walentas, who is the artist who did the restoration.
(This is Mom with Jane)

We got to see it, ride it numerous times, and I took over 100 pictures.

Each horse has a medallion like this one that tells what row it is in and what model it is. Very cool!

Jane's resoration work is nothing short of miraculous. The precious-metal leaf used, the beautiful color, it is all amazing. It was cool, too, to see these people (mostly elderly) so thrilled to see this bit of their childhood.

I loaded more pictures to my Facebook Account, if you want to see them. Let me know if that works, or if not, I'll load them into Flickr.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Of ships and sails and sealing wax . . .

Does anyone else read bloggers from the kidlitosphere? I've been reading/lurking at a few blogs for a while, now, and I have to say that one of my fave things is Poetry Friday. Every Friday they (some of them) post a poem or link to a poem or whatever. It's fun! I can't imagine I'd be able to keep up and stick to the schedule, but I like reading what they post! They even have roundups to stay in touch with one another and draw the reader around the web. Cool, huh?

Can I draw on the walls, too?

Just a quick link to really cool marker art.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Searching for stuff, Thing #19

I LOVE Firefox. I had it, then my computer got mussed up so I didnt' have it, and there are some apps that I need for work that don't use FF, so I didn't bother loading it at work, but then I was at IT one day and they teased me a little because I only had IE on my computer (and for goodness sakes, guys, YOU are the ones in the department that built this laptop anyway, so either give it to me or don't tease me for not having it . . . or something, and really, how crazy is that!?!?!?), so I finally caved to peer pressure (and knowing better) and loaded it again - both at work and at home. {end breathless rant}

My fave of the CML Power Tools is the Catalog Search Plug-in for Firefox. It's brilliant! I can simply choose to search DP instead of Google whenever I want. LOVERLY!

I don't have more to say (isn't that miraculous?).

Comiqs - Thing #18

I've made my first online comic strip!

Simon's New Sweater from Caterwauller on Comiqs

It was fun and easy, too! I wish I had more photos of people in my Flickr account to fool around with . I'll have to work on that! I think this is an app that my son will get a kick out of.

Google Docs - Thing Something or other

So I decided to check out Google Docs. I have gmail, and I like gtalk . . . and I've used the calendar and Google Reader . . . so I finally opened the Docs thing. Guess what! I already had a bunch of documents there and I didn't realize it! They were all from email attachments! I was amazed.

I started by cleaning out the docs that I don't really need. Then I added a new one - with information that, truly, I'd like to have access to from any computer. It's easy and fun! Just like they said!

I'm interested in trying out more apps, but honestly, I'm a little bit under a pile and I want to catch up on the rest of the Things before venturing beyond google for this one. You know - make sure I taste every dish on the buffet before coming back for seconds. :-)

New Blog!

I'm part of the Ready to Read Task Force at CML, and as we move into the implementation of this year's phase of the ongoing project, we've been recruiting and training a big team of Ambassadors who will be going into the neighborhoods and meeting families who are not generally visiting the library. They'll be talking about early literacy and sharing the Ready to Read research and information with parents and caregivers to try to improve their children's success in school. Because there will be so many people involved and so much going on, we've started a dedicated blog to share with one another. Feel free to follow along!

Vocabulary Building?

I was just reading CodeMonkey's blog, and noticed he has a reading level on his blog. So, of course, because I am a meme junkie, I had to do it too, even though I've done it before . . .

blog readability test

TV Reviews

I've improved! It must be all the L&P thing we've been doing. I'm talking about work instead of just life.