Saturday, December 18, 2010

She Who Hesitates . . .


We had our traditional Gingerbread House Decorating this past week at our friend, Vicky's house. Vicky and her 2 sons, A and J, my sister, Linda, and Si and I. 3 houses, lots of sugar and candy, great fun!




We've been decorating our houses together for many years, and we all look forward to it! Vicky and I have each tried our hand at making the houses from scratch, but have found that the kits are so cheap and work so well, it's just not worth an entire day of time fussing with dough and baking (at least for us, most of the time).




Simon created a village of huts with crackers, we have some villagers, and a very fancy church with a mosaic (my work).







Last night we had a CATastrophe. Our little furry siblings have visited the village. Here is Samwise, guarding the scene of the crime and trying to look innocent. Catzilla does not look innocent to me!

I only wish I'd taken some pics before the apoCATlypse.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NaBloPoMo

Well, it's been a whole month and I've posted something every day. I enjoyed the discipline of it, and there were only a few times when I just got it in under the wire. What I am most proud of is that there were only a couple of times when I put up a place-holder type post that was just "hey, it's another but I don't have time to post". I like getting back into this kind of journaling. I've even gotten a couple of new followers, too, I think! Welcome, newbies!

As I've been saying in the last few posts, the holiday knitting deadlines are quickly approaching and I will be spending less time on the computer in December to try to meet all of my own expectations. I'll stop in, though, just to keep things lively.

Once Christmas comes, I'm sure to be posting pictures again, too - yippee! And I'll finally be able to reveal what I've been knitting!

Monday, November 29, 2010

It's Beginning to Knit Alot Like Christmas . . .

Here's some pictures of the piles I have. This first is the pile of knitting that is done or almost done . . . minus a few items. I won't call out anything or anyone specific, but you can see that there are several lovely yarns and some interesting stitch patterns! Hehehe! It's so much fun to be making things for people. I feel like I'm my own little Santa's Workshop!




Next are some of the in-process things I've got going. Let's see, just for Xmas I have . . . umm . . . 4 things on the needles at the moment. I have yarn for several more items. If my quick calculation yesterday afternoon was correct, I have about 7-10 more things, total, to finish before gifting this holiday season. It'll certainly keep me busy, eh?



Favorite yarn so far: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted (the color I have isn't shown)- it's so soft and springy, I almost forget it is wool!
Favorite stitch pattern: will always either be plain stockinette in the round or cables
Favorite project: I don't know yet! More on this later!
Lesson I'm learning: sometimes the perfect gift for someone you love is just going to be boring knitting, but it will produce something so beautiful and refined that you simply must keep it simple.

I met another crocheter today, and he's an Entymologist. We were talking about crocheting little quick toy things like my neurons, and I got to wondering if I could free-hand some crocheted bugs. I think I might have to try it soon, but I should not let it distract me from Xmas knitting - what a conundrum!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Casting On

Christmas Knitting is filling almost all of my spare time these days, and my plan for today includes going through all of my finished projects (FOs) and works in progress (WIPs) to compare them to my recipient list and determine what I still need to do and prioritize. This morning, however, I woke up thinking about cast-ons. Last night I asked Si to try on a knitted cap I made a few months ago. He loves the cap but the cast-on (CO) edge is tight, and I agree. This is a problem I've been having and I know it must be the methods I use for casting on, but needed to research.

I put "stretchy cast on" into my google search box this morning and it took me to my oft-visited and recommended learning site, knitting-help.com. I love this site because it gives you quick little videos of whatever stitch or technique you need to learn, and you can sit and watch that little vid over and over and over in the privacy of your own home without having to admit to a human teacher that you didn't get it the first 4 times they showed you. I re-learned how to knit on this site and I go back whenever I have issues like today.

Lo and behold, there is a whole page of cast-on techniques, and I was able to go through them all at my leisure (although I feel the breath of time on my neck, telling me I must not dawdle) to figure out what I should try. I think the problem is that I've been using the Knitted CO instead of the Long-tail CO, which is stretchier. Those of you who knit - do you know of any other good stretchy COs?

But then I scrolled down and saw the vid for the Provisional CO. I have been sort of doing my own thing for this (a knitted CO with waste yarn), and picking up the live stitches has been a pain in the patootie. After watching the great vid (several times) I am ready to do the honest-to-goodness real-deal Provisional CO - go me! Too bad I didn't know about this last week when I started those lacy fingerless mitts where I did my own version. I spent about an hour picking up those stitches, and it could have been as simple as just knitting off the darn cable! Sigh.

You'd think a life-long librarian would know the importance of doing research before starting a project. Maybe next time?

Speaking of next time, I'll try to take some pics of my projects today . . . but be warned! You will not see any Xmas spoilers! There will be no names given and no complete projects shown, only teasers!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Books!

I have been reading, you know, just not as much as I should be. With all the holiday knitting and crocheting I've been doing (and wanting to do), it's hard to fit books in. Thank goodness for recorded books and my car's CD player!

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress
by Rhoda Janzen, 2009.
This memoir is delightful! Janzen talks about her more modern life while still being respectful (albeit with humor) of her upbringing. At times irreverent, and other times poetically nostalgic, this book really made me laugh, sigh and appreciate life. Janzen has a way with words. I listened to the book on CD, read by Hilary Huber, and she did a superb job.

Case of the Missing Marquis and the rest of The Enola Holmes Series by Nancy Springer.
Enola is the very young sister of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes! Raised to be brilliant (how could she be otherwise) and supremely independent, she leaves home when she turns 14. On her 14th birthday, you see, her mother goes missing and Enola must figure out the clues. She leaves home and ends up also being involved in the solving of the mystery of a missing Marquis. Her attention to detail and her understanding of the feminine world are often her main assets allowing her to solve things before even her famous brother can! This series is written for children around 4th grade, I would guess, but I thoroughly enjoyed the 6 that are already out. I can't wait for more!

On What Grounds and other books in the Coffee Shop Mysteries series by Cleo Coyle
These are fun mysteries set in a coffee shop. Somewhat formulaic, they don't take a lot of brain power, and I don't often have a lot of brain power to dedicate to a new book. Filled with tidbits about coffee brewing and other delicious things, I found this book and the one other I have read so far (#6, "French Pressed") to be entertaining enough to cause me to put more of them on my "to read" list.

Currently reading: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
This is currently my in-car book on CD. It is fascinating! He's delving into what makes a person a successful genius as opposed to someone who just misses the mark. What "perfect storm" would it take to make someone one of those uber-successful people?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Still Recovering

Well, despite my long posts the last 2 days, I'm still recovering from bronchitis today and can't come up with a good post. See ya tomorrow.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

What I'm thankful for this year (like 3 Beautiful Things expanded):
  • Jesus' sacrifice on the cross for me (and you)
  • wonderful, loving parents
  • a great husband who also happens to be my best friend
  • the coolest kid in the universe happens to be my son
  • loving and generous in-laws
  • a great brother and sister and their spouses
  • friends, those who live near and those who are far away, even if we don't get together often
  • getting in touch with old friends from my past because of social media - this year has been really fun, learning how old friends are doing and re-establishing contact
  • knitting - not just for the enjoyment of the craft and creativity, but also for the great friends I've gained through social knitting
  • that my friend Carol found Darrell (happy wedding next week!) - hopefully I'll come to know Darrell as well as I know Carol and we can all be great friends together
  • a free country that allows people to have differing beliefs and ideals
  • my husband's job, and that he's making it work and doing it well even though it's not his top career choice
  • my own job and a supervisor that has given me latitude to deal with the emotions of the past few years
  • Gerald, for his friendship and our new video blog project, even though it's moving slowly
  • that the library levy passed and the voters really appreciate what we do
  • music and the occasional opportunity to make music with others
  • our big vacation in June and the ability to have taken it
  • the magnificent beauty of nature
  • being able to walk
  • great books
  • both vehicles are working
  • a wonderful, compassionate group of people to work with at Driving Park

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Big Brother!

Today is my big brother's birthday! In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am going to share the things about my brother that I love and respect.
  • He is always there for me. We don't talk on the phone or write letters much, but I know that whenever I need him, he is there for me. It's comforting and stablizing.
  • His sense of humor. There have been times, when we were younger, that his sense of wry, teasing humor drove me up the wall, but I really do love how he puts words together. He makes me laugh.
  • His love of jazz. He taught me a lot about music appreciation when I was growing up, although he probably doesn't realize it. Mostly it was just listening to whatever was blaring on his stereo.
  • His laid-back gift of hospitality. It relaxes me to spend time with him. He understands the joy of companionable silence. I particularly loved this when we were camping together.
  • He taught me how to drink. Ok, you may think this sounds inappropriate, but honestly, when I came of age, it was my brother who gave me tips on not being stupid. Of course, I still had my stupid moments (don't we all?)
  • His love of history.
  • His ability to fix stuff. He just understands how things work . . . or he can figure it out. And he can figure out why things aren't working, too.
  • His appreciation of the absurd. This goes along with his sense of humor, but it deserves it's own category.
  • His wife. He looked around a long time before he committed, and Suzie was worth the wait, IMHO.
  • His imagination. I've loved playing D&D, going to re-enactments, delving into fantasy and sci-fi literature . . . all by following in his footsteps. He would say I shouldn't follow his footsteps but walk one step behind and a little to the right, as is a woman's proper place (see sense of humor, above)
  • His acting, lighting and other theatrical skills. Along with this is his willingness to make fun of himself. I love that about him. I will never, ever forget when he walked onto the stage in South Pacific in that coconut bra and started dancing. I nearly caused myself injury, I laughed so hard.

I am fortunate to have grown up in a great family. Sure, we've had our disagreements and rocky patches here and there, but underlying everything is the knowledge that we all love one another. We are all there for one another.

Happy Birthday, Dear Brother! I love you!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Embracing or Eschewing?

I'm still feeling crummy, physically, but in checking Facebook this morning, I read this great article posted by Mashable. I get so excited when I think about the possibilities of using technology to engage young people in learning! There are so many possibilities!

I particularly enjoyed this vid:



Another article in Mashable today talks about a new project of Tim Burton where you (yes, you!) can participate in creating a story with him! Read more about it here. If THAT doesn't get you and the kids you know excited about web 2.0, I don't know what will!

I'm afraid my brain is too addled to say much more on the topic today. Talk amongst yourselves . . .

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Jammies Day

I've been in my jammies all day. Sometimes I do this just to pamper myself for no real reason, but today it is because I'm not feeling 100%. You know how when a sinus infection or head cold starts to move south into your chest, and you get that nasty big cough? That's me. Ick.

In honor of my jammie day I am posting a few pics of the best napping cat in the world. Samwise likes to nap on top of us on the couch. He's very heavy, though, so after a while it gets uncomfortable. This pic of Sam on top of me is from a week or two ago. I was laying down for a nap and hadn't even pulled the blanket down over my legs. He later stretched his neck out and laid his chin on my shoulder.



Here is Sam on top of Mike this afternoon. They both had a lovely snooze. It was just one of those lazy days. We had fresh air blowing through the house and napping on the couch . . . a very nice Fall Sunday.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Busy!

This has been a busy day! I'll go backwards . . . dinner with T and J at Otani's - love that sushi, and the company was delightful! This afternoon we went to an Eagle Court of Honor for one of the young men in Simon's troop. Very nice ceremony and reception.

This morning we went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt 1. Here are my first impressions (without giving any spoilers, I think):
  • It's a very dark movie, but no darker than the book, for sure. I mean, when you're battling the ultimate evil, it's bound to get a little dark.
  • I don't like the new actor playing Fenrir Greyback as much as the former actor. He wasn't menacing enough.
  • I loved the animation in the middle - lovely stuff. It looked Tim Burton-esque.
  • The time we were in the movie seemed to fly by.
  • There were some plot alterations, which are understandable, I guess, but it still kind of bugs me a little here and there.
  • Some of the scene cuts and editing seemed a little clunky and choppy. I'm curious to hear if people who aren't as familiar with the books have trouble following the story.
  • Xeno Lovegood wasn't weird enough.
  • I liked the Lovegood residence, but I am disappointed we didn't get to see Luna's bedroom.

I am, and always will be, a complete HP geek. I enjoy the movies a lot, but the books are still where it's at.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Blogger's Block

I've tried all day to think of something cool to write about, and it just hasn't come to me. So, as a last resort I've gone to the NaBloPoMo website and gotten the prompt:


Friday, November 19, 2010
Write the first paragraph of your autobiography.


The big trucks pulled onto the lot right on time. The foreman was waiting, ready to direct them in digging the basement. The plans had all been made and all of the paperwork was finally done, so the ground could finally be broken on the next house on the street. The day was Saturday, July 11, 1964. Richard Burton was on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. It was a bright, beautiful summer's day and the owners of the property, Dave and Carol Fithian, were busy. Their third child was being born in Youngstown, Ohio. She had trouble breathing (heart defects were suspected) and was put on a ventilator instead of at her mother's bedside. The doctors were worried that she wouldn't make it through her first day in the world, but she did. They named her Catherine Louise.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

HP Obsession

I am very excited to see the new Harry Potter movie! It is premiering tonight in our town, in just 1 hour and 40 minutes! Thing is, we've all vowed to wait until Saturday morning to see it so we can all see it together! Ahhh! Waiting! I hate waiting! In order to amuse myself (and perhaps you), I give you The Harry Potter Puppet Pals in The Mysterious Ticking Noise . . . . .

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Getting Tagged

I love to get tagged! For those of you who don't know, it's when someone in another blog or social media site connects your name to something they're doing. Sometimes it's just to get your attention so you'll look. Sometimes it's because you're in a picture they've posted. In this case, it was so that my friend Faith could post her list of random facts and then get others to post similar lists about themselves. Facebook has a feature where you can post notes, much like a blog, and tagging is very simple there because it puts a message up on your friend's page to let them know they've been tagged. In a blog like this, you are simply relying on your friend to read the blog and see that they've been mentioned or tagged.

If you are reading this, consider yourself tagged!

This particular game has some rules, which you are to cut and paste into your "note" or blog post:
Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 30 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 30 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person that tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you. Just quit the internal whining and do it. (To do this, go to "notes" under tabs on your profile page paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 30 random things, tag 30 people [in the right-hand corner of the app.] Then click publish. If you do not have a Notes tab on your profile, you can create one by clicking on the + tab. It will let you choose Notes and will create a tab for you. It takes one/tenth of a second.


As you can see, it explains how it works for Facebook. :-) Since I'm doing National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) I am going to cross-post (put it in both places).

  1. I am the shortest person in my family now that my son is taller than me.
  2. I am an attention whore.
  3. Sometimes I like to be all alone, though, and quiet, which surprises some people.
  4. We have 2 cats, named Samwise Gamgee and Rosie Cotton.
  5. I like nicknames and often call the cats other names.
  6. I like to call my friends by other names, too . . . usually they're nice names.
  7. I like running gags, particularly if they're silly plays on words.
  8. I am a rabid Harry Potter fan, and I don't care who knows it.
  9. I love it when my husband and son compare me to Molly Weasley.
  10. I got second piercings in each ear about 20 years ago, but the second holes are closing up from lack of use.
  11. I got my first tattoo this past Summer. I don't know if I'll get more or not, but it didn't take very long and I like it very much.
  12. My tattoo is a Dewey Decimal number for a book I have never checked out of the library.
  13. I give candy to kids who find the book for me, so I kind of think of it as educational body art.
  14. I like very dark chocolate.
  15. I used to not care so much about ice cream, but this last year I've become addicted to it. I mean, I've always liked it, but never like this.
  16. I sometimes wish I had moved to NYC after college graduation instead of to Columbus, just to see if I could have made it in performing arts.
  17. I have a not-so-secret wish to be a Muppeteer and/or a voice actress.
  18. I fear I will never be physically capable of being a great puppeteer again because my body seems to be against it.
  19. I have trouble believing that "I am fearfully and wonderfully made".
  20. I love road trips.
  21. I like listening to books on CD because I can do other things at the same time, like drive or knit.
  22. I have trouble listening to my iPod in the gym because I always want to sing along.
  23. I love singing.
  24. I have a very large range (for my voice). When I'm using it properly and regularly my range is about 3 octaves.
  25. I'd love to front for a band someday - a rock or rockabilly band.
  26. I believe that if we could manage to get the entire next generation functionally literate by grade 3 we could change the economy in our country by epic proportions (for the better, of course).
  27. I love people. All kinds. I delight in diversity and find quirks most entertaining of all.
  28. I love knitting (no great surprise) mostly because it keeps my hands busy and helps my brain calm down enough to puzzle out problems . . . and if the knitting pattern is complicated, I can sometimes completely forget about whatever problems are plaguing me, and that relaxes me a lot.
  29. I don't think I will ever be as amazing a woman as my mother is, but she thinks I will be, and that is all that really matters. (My dad is amazing, too!)
  30. I love my husband more today than I have ever loved him before, and it amazes me every day that I can say that.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Nikki Giovanni Poem

This poem was posted by PBS, and it has given me a lot to think about today. Would she remember her childhood with such fondness if she had never become famous and successful? Do the children I see every day have this kind of peace and joy in their lives? Should I respect that culture and no longer fight against the poverty that is pervading our society? I think it feels more like a challenge because she's made it more of a racial issue than a class issue. What do you all think?

Nikki-Rosa

by Nikki Giovanni

childhood remembrances are always a drag
if you're Black
you always remember things like living in Woodlawn
with no inside toilet
and if you become famous or something
they never talk about how happy you were to have
your mother
all to yourself and
how good the water felt when you got your bath
from one of those
big tubs that folk in chicago barbecue in
and somehow when you talk about home
it never gets across how much you
understood their feelings
as the whole family attended meetings about Hollydale
and even though you remember
your biographers never understand
your father's pain as he sells his stock
and another dream goes
And though you're poor it isn't poverty that
concerns you
and though they fought a lot
it isn't your father's drinking that makes any difference
but only that everybody is together and you
and your sister have happy birthdays and very good
Christmases
and I really hope no white person ever has cause
to write about me
because they never understand
Black love is Black wealth and they'll
probably talk about my hard childhood
and never understand that
all the while I was quite happy

Monday, November 15, 2010

Baking Season

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, we are entering into the scariest part of the year for dieters . . . BAKING SEASON. This is especially challenging if the following factors are present:
  1. you are sick of your diet
  2. you have hit a "plateau" (code word for not losing weight for a while and maybe gaining a few lb back, which totally sucks)
  3. you love to bake
  4. you equate food with love
  5. you equate fresh home-baked goodies with bestest love
So - anyone have any tips for me that I haven't heard a million times already? I'm not looking for safe, overused platitudes here, I'm looking for solid advice.

Meanwhile, I'm going back to bed for a nap before work (and to avoid thinking about baking.)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Knitting With Friends

There are many aspects of knitting that are attractive to me. I enjoy the visceral pleasure of the yarn passing around my fingers, sliding over my skin and looping around the needles at my command. I love the creativity of choosing patterns, choosing fibers, choosing colors, combining them all in unique ways to create practical and beautiful items. I love veering off the patterns to customize designs or completely create them from scratch. I love knowing that this is an ancient art, and that I share these movements with my grandmother and countless generations before her, sometimes even knitting from patterns that are older than her time. I enjoy keeping my hands busy while doing other things that might otherwise feel frivolous (watching tv), and even when I'm doing things that are important, knitting simple patterns can often help me calm my mind, concentrate on difficult problems, work things out more readily.

Along with all of these things, I love that knitting is such a social craft. You can carry it with you, you can talk with others while you're knitting, and knitting with others will often allow each of you to learn and grow your skills more quickly. Of course, it's no surprise to anyone that knows me that I would glom onto a craft that allows me to talk to people while I do it. I do love to talk!

But a knitting group often becomes more than just an outlet for knitting and chattering away. Over time you grow some great friendships, and I have been blessed to have many great friends in my knitting companions. More than the knitting itself calming me, being with my knitting cohorts will often lift my spirits and keep me pumped about my knitting, help me relax, make me happy.

If you are one of the folks I knit with - thank you. You are special to me.

If you'd like to hear more about knitting, I invite you (again) to check out the knitting vlog I've been doing with my buddy, Knittingbrow. Click here..

Saturday, November 13, 2010

National Gaming @ Your Library Day

Very busy day at the L today! We set up the virtual football tournament in the teen area, we had board games on nearly ever table in the branch, and the Wii was set up in our meeting room. I have a very small library, but at one time we had over 70 people in the building! It was exciting!

I'm exhausted!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Off

I love having every other Friday off! With public service, we have some odd hours compared to the "typical" 9-5 workers. We work evenings and some weekends, and it's different from week to week. After 23 years of this schedule, it seems quite normal to me. I work every other Saturday. The weeks that I am working Saturday, I generally have Friday off. I've come to cherish these Fridays.

Sometimes I use Fridays to get important things done. I will schedule Dr. Appointments and medical tests on Fridays if they allow them. Some Dr.s (surgeons, in particular) don't have office hours on Fridays, but for them I try to schedule appointments in the mornings on the days when I'm working late (and consequently going in late).

Sometimes I use Fridays to catch up on housework things: shopping, cleaning, dishes, cooking, laundry, but to be honest, my husband does more than his fair share of all of that, so I rarely have to spend an entire day doing that alone.

Sometimes I spend the day meeting up with friends and lunching.

Sometimes I go to the yarn shop. Today was one of those days! The Knitter's Mercantile is my favorite LYS, and there is a group of women to often meet there on Friday mornings. Everyone is welcome and there have been some huge crowd from time to time! Today there were just a few of us. (I heard they're meeting every other week at another shop - how could they!?!?!?)

I had a lovely morning at the Merc. I made some good progress on one of my Xmas gifts (shh!) and I met a few new friends. One lady was doing her first project with the magic loop method (a cool way to knit in the round). After Jan (the shop owner) showed her the basics, Maureen sat down next to me and I was able to coach her as she got it going. As we talked, we finally realized that we go to the same church - LOL. Small world, eh? She is starting to get knitters together to make hats, gloves and scarves for kids in South Linden (where I used to work) for the winter months. I'm so there!

I'm glad I was able to make a new friend and get a new outlet for charity knitting. I love knitting gifts, and knitting for charity is just as good or better. What could be better than knitting for kids in our own town who need it? I bet some of those kids have even used my library. Pretty cool. If you're on Ravelry, the name of the group is Handknits for Harambee.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank You

Today is Veteran's Day. It is a bank holiday, a national holiday to honor all of our country's veterans from all wars and conflicts. This is the anniversary of the day that Armistice began in 1918 to end World War 1. There is an interesting history of the holiday here.

I appreciate but realize that I don't fully understand the sacrifices our veterans have made and the horrors they've seen. I count myself as immeasurably lucky not to have experienced war first hand. Seeing it on TV, hearing the news of things far, far away or visiting battlefields is hard enough. My heart goes out to families who are currently enduring the tenuous waiting and stress of having a loved one involved in the war.

Today, I am thinking about my father, my uncle Bob, my grandfather, Mike's grandfather, friends who've served, both in times of conflict and in times of peace. Thank you all.

Mike and I both have the day off, but Simon has school, which means . . .
DAYTIME DATE! I think we might even picnic in the park if it's warm enough. We'll be doing some work to get Mike's things ready for the Boy Scout Campout this weekend, too. Then I'll be having dinner with my sister! Yay!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Christmas Knitting

How am I going to find the time to do all of the Christmas Knitting that I want to do? Ack! I've got about 5 projects on the needles right now, but I've got oodles and oodles of people I'd like to knit for. Problem is, I also have a full-time job AND I need to sleep sometimes!

Let's face it, some people are going to have store-bought things this year. That's just all there is to it. I hate it, but dems da facts. Sigh.

There, I've said it.

But maybe I can take time off to do more knitting . . . . .

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Planning for Holidays

I have 2 things on my mind today - how to schedule my staff during the holiday season and how to schedule my family time. These are tough choices!

I don't have much time to post today, but I will say this - I work for a fabulous library. We provide excellent customer service, and that includes around the holidays. We do, however, close for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. We get paid for those closed days, too, which is delightfully generous! It throws a bit of a monkey wrench into our scheduling, but you know what? I love puzzles! I'll work it all out (in fact, I think it might all be worked out already) and I think all of my employees will even be quite satisfied with the results. We'll see!

Now for family! How do you schedule limited time off so that you can visit 2 sets of out-of-town parents, don't completely overlap time that other family members are sleeping in the beds you'll need, and still see everyone for the hols? Oh, add in that it's nice to visit with old friends who still live in those 2 towns, and you've got quite a scheduling cocktail, let me tell you! How do you all do it? Do you have one set thing you always do?

When Si was really little we made our families travel to us for Christmas, but now that he's older, and our parents are older as well, we travel to be with them. We'll make it work, especially since all 4 of our parents are wonderful, loving people who understand that they can't always be the center of the day. Everyone has always been so kind about sharing us with the others.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Knitting Update

I've been busy with knitting and even some crocheting (gasp! That's me crocheting on the left!) lately, although my pace has slowed down a bit from years past. Being Fall, I am well into Christmas Prep. This is always a tricky time because I tend to be overly ambitious and want to knit more things than I have time for. I mean, a hand-made gift is always so much nicer than a store-bought one, don't you think?


But seriously, with a full-time job and other various things going on (injured shoulder, etc) knitting has been harder to accomplish!

These three felted bags were my donations to the Levy Fundraiser. The large pussywillow bag is the one that was in the art show.



This is a close-up of the little Noro basket-bag. I do like how it turned out, and adding the little beads makes it really special. I call it the Noro bag because it took one skein of Noro yarn . . . I forget with kind. I knit the bag when I was on heavy pain meds after my leg broke.




This is a large wool bag. I knit it with 2 strands together, sort of intending it to be a market bag of sorts. It felted beautifully. I still have some of that wool left, and may make some other felted item from it, but I don't know what.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Household Chores

As many of you know, the last 18 months have been full of ups and downs for me . . . many of which have involved downs through which I could not do much physical work. I guess it shouldn't be surprising, then, to hear me say that it has been a wonderful weekend of doing simple things around the house and with my family. Here is a brief list of things I've done this week and weekend to keep the household running. I share it not because it's spectacular by normal standards, but because for me, coming out of lengthy physical trials, it seems significant (and I took a day off work to sleep in the middle, too, because I was exhausted, so I'm still not all the way there, sigh, but I'm really trying to look on the positive side):
  • took Si shopping for his suit (a 3 hour ordeal during which he kept saying "I don't really care what I wear" but after which he was quite appreciative)
  • went to International Festival with my son and DH
  • took my son to the zoo (last Sunday) and walked myself into the ground
  • did laundry (last load is in the washer!) and even carried some of it up the stairs by myself!
  • made dinner twice (usually Mike cooks . . . see pic)
  • worked long hours for the levy (did I mention it passed? lol)
  • got more of the "old mess" cleaned up in our family room
  • hung the wreath above our mantel that's been sitting on the hearth for nearly a year (see pic)
OK - that's probably enough. Suffice to say I'm happy to be continuing down the road to normalcy.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Dressing Up


My son went to the Fall Formal at his HS last night. I was really proud of him for going stag, too, because back in my day it didn't happen much. Apparently, kids do that more often now, but I'm still proud of him. We don't have many times in our lives when we wear formal clothing. I suppose I dress up most often of the three of us in our family. My husband usually wears jeans and golf shirts, even to work. My son is the same. Our church is very casual, as well, and we all wear jeans or shorts there, too. So when Si said he wanted to go to the Formal, I knew we'd have to do some shopping . . . unless I could convince him to wear his Scout uniform . . . but that would be downright silly. Sigh.

So we went shopping this week. It took about an hour to find a jacket, pants and shirt that he liked that was within my price limit (afterall, he's still growing, so those lovely "last forever" suits aren't necessary). Then we had to get shoes. Since we were already at Macy's we went to the men's shoes and looked. Yowza! Those puppies are expensive! If you want comfortable dress shoes, you have to be ready to shell out some bucks! And you know what? Dress shoes look ridiculous with jeans! I found some cool all-black high-top tennis shoes that would work for the Formal and still be practical in his everyday life, but alas, they didn't have his size. Grrrrr. We finally (after 2 hours!) settled on a pair of pull-ons. Good grief - shopping for him was nearly as difficult as shopping for me! Here's the thing, though - he looks really fabulous. But don't take my word for it - you can see for yourself!

Now that we've spent the money, we need to find more places to go where he can wear this suit! Got any ideas? I'm thinking we have about 9 months or so before he outgrows the dang thing. I'll get him a Christmassy shirt and tie so he can wear it then, but honestly, we need more!

PS - if you're wondering why I'm suddenly posting every day, it's because I've taken the challenge to be part of nablopomo - National Blog Posting Month. :-) Think I can make it?

Friday, November 05, 2010

Cereal in the Morning

I love cereal. I've always loved it. I could eat cereal every meal of the day sometimes. In fact, I'm sure there have been days when I have!

There are times when I like the sugary opulence of Captain Crunch or Cocoa Puffs, but usually I prefer the plain cereals; Cheerios, Rice Krispies, Corn Chex, Oatmeal. I also like Raisin Bran, granola and Grapenuts. My dad is the same way - he eats the same breakfast with the same cereals every day. He used to mix Raisin Bran and Grapenuts (as I recall), but now he eats his 100% Natural granola.

I remember when we were kids, we used to beg to be allowed to have cereal for dinner when Mom and Dad were going out (our other favorite choices for those nights were pot pies or TV Dinners, but I personally never liked those as much because they had vegetables and things in them that I didn't like). I was delighted in college when the cafeteria installed huge cereal dispensers that stayed available to us at every meal, not just breakfast! Yay!

What cereals do you like? What is your favorite breakfast? What breakfast foods remind you of your childhood?

As I finish up my bran flakes with dried blueberries on top, I salute all of us cereal-lovers everywhere!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

on being sick

I'm not feeling well today. It's nothing big, dramatic or serious. I'm feeling over-tired and weak. I went back to bed after calling in to work and slept an additional 2.5 hours, and I know that soon I will go back to sleep again.

What makes some bodies more resilient to illness than others? Health seems like a gigantic Cribbage game to me. You ever play Cribbage? Well, if you're doing well in Cribbage, you're likely to totally smoke your opponent. There are 2 parts to every hand, and honestly, if you win the first part you're likely to win the second part, and then you get extra points for winning and extra points for winning big, and it just goes on and on! My sister and I have joked about this. I feel like personal health is like that.

Some people have good personal health. They may catch colds now and then, but not often. When they do, they can usually just "work it off" or "let it run it's course" or take extra Vitamin C and it all fades away. The other players in this great Cribbage Game catch everything that comes down the pike (in the first round of the hand) and then if they don't see a Dr., call off all extra-curricular activities (and sometimes work) and totally let their bodies rest, it will turn into something worse (the second round of the hand). The sniffles turns into bronchitis. A headache turns into a migraine. A cut on the hand turns into an infection.

Someday, when I'm face-to-face with our creator, I'm going to respectfully ask Him why He built us this way.

For now, I'm just going back to sleep.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Good News!

The levy passed! Woohoo! So very happy, and very thankful to all of the voters, our loyal customers, who value what we do. Thank you!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

A New Side of My Right

I was awake pig-stinkin' early today and, in fact, I didn't even really resent it. I'm seeing a new side of the elections this year.

You see, I have voted in every election since I turned 18. I may have missed a few primaries, but I have never missed a November election (that I can remember, anyway). I was raised in a politically active family. My father was (maybe still is?) a Precinct Committeeman for our area, and he served on the local (and maybe higher) Board of Elections when I was young. I had a Social Studies teacher in High School that teased me because I could be counted on to give "the Republican Viewpoint" in every discussion. He found it doubly hilarious that I was close friends with the granddaughter of a Democrat Senator.

I remember my very first election when I turned 18. It was a Big Deal! I proudly went in, sure that I was studied and ready to cast a knowledgeable vote. I remember being shocked by finding candidates and races on the ballot that I hadn't heard about and for which I had not prepared. I also remember that it was a Presidential Election, and I dutifully cast my vote for Ronald Reagan to help him win his re-election.

I have trained and worked in the polls, spending those long days helping people exercise their right to vote and feeling very energetic and happy to be there. I was dismayed to find that my co-workers for the day were lackadaisical, to say the least, and weren't prepared to give excellent customer service.

I have played hostess to the polls in our libraries, welcoming the poll workers and encouraging them to use the facilities, making sure they had library cards and reading materials for the slow times during the day. In 2004 when the wait time at our library branch was 6 hours long, I stirred up my staff to walk around, mingle with the neighbors, work with people to get them library cards, clear fines, help them get comfortable during their long waits. That year, we read to children all day, helped the volunteers who brought food and drinks in to the waiting voters and allowed people to have pizzas delivered to them in line.

This year, though, for the first time, I actually worked on a campaign in earnest. As you've seen, our library had a levy on the ballot. I've talked about the issue before so I won't go into it now (especially since the polls are closed, and the results are coming in now, so there's nothing you can do anyway). I helped make phone calls, I spoke to community groups, I wrote blog posts, I donated hand-knit items for the fund-raiser, and today I worked as a poll greeter at the crotch of dawn (yes, you read that correctly). It was a new side of things, and I'm glad I did it. I'm glad I found an issue that was important enough to me that I went out and really worked to see it win. I might just have to get behind some more issues in the coming years. Not tonight, though.

It's been a long day. I'm a light-weight compared to many folks who are still at the "watch party" at our campaign headquarters. It's not even 11 pm yet, and I'm calling it a day. I feel I can safely go to bed since "they" have "called it".

WE WON! THE LEVY PASSED! w00t! w00t!


And I am glad that I have had a part, not just in voting, but in helping others to learn about the issue. After all, I am a Librarian, helping people find information is what I do.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Why I Love My Job

I know it's not cool to love your job, and I have to admit that I can very easily get into a gripe-fest with the best of 'em, but I have to share a story today about why I love mine. I was walking around the floor around noon today, just looking around to see if anyone needed help. A woman called me over and said "Hey Miss Cathy! I'm glad you're here!" which is heartwarming, to say the least (I mean, who doesn't like to hear that someone is glad to see them?)

This woman (I'll call her D) has been in our library branch regularly to use the laptops in our Job Help Center. These computers are set out so that customers who are doing job-related work (resumes, getting email accounts, posting resumes online, searching for jobs, even studying for GED) can use them without having to work with the usual reservation software we have which limits people to 1-hour sessions, and only 3 of those a day. So D has been using the JHC nearly every day for a few months.

She called me over today to talk about how she finally finished the first class she took in college and is now taking Psychology. She's very excited because she passed the first one, and it's been so long since she was in school. She attributes her success to all the help she's gotten at our library! We've helped her learn to use Word so she can type her papers. We've helped her figure out how to submit her homework online through the college website. We've even helped her figure out her FAFSA and register for classes. We've been with her, helping her out, the whole way.

She told me this "it's been real hard, having to come here on the bus every day, but it's been worth it. We have our own computer now, which is why I haven't been coming in as much, but we don't have a printer yet, so I had to come in today to print out parts of the book I need." Yup, she's even getting her text books through the website!

She said "I hope I can do really well in this Psychology class, because it's all about the brain and talking to people to help them solve things, and that's what I know I'm meant to be doing." She had a huge smile on her face. I said "it feels really good to be working towards a job you know you'll love, doesn't it?"

"Yes, Miss Cathy, it surely does"

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

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Keep Our Library Strong!

Think for a moment about what your community would be like without a public library. Do you use your public library? What do you use it for? Don't use it? Why not? Are you glad it is there for others, even if you don't use it? Remember when I wrote about how proud I am to work for the Library of the Year? Want to read research about how libraries produce incredible return on the investments our communities put into them, including economic development?

Well, we have an issue on the ballot Nov. 2. If you live in the area, you will have the opportunity to tell us (and everyone else who is paying attention) if you believe that public libraries are important to you. Think about these things: books that everyone has access to but no one person needs to buy, storytimes for children, Summer Reading Club that motivates children to keep their skills up during the summer, Homework Help Centers after school, Job Help Centers in every location where people will help you create a resume, get your first email account, learn to look for and apply for jobs online, access to the internet and free wifi, movies and audios that you can borrow for free, friendly, helpful staff (who have all had to take cuts in pay and hours and have still added services this past year) . . .

If this levy doesn't pass, Columbus Metropolitan Library will lose roughly half of it's operating funds. We've already made all the "easy" cuts we can make.

If you'd like to support the best library in the nation, you'll vote YES on Issue 4.

Keep Our Library Strong

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Paddler Home!

My dear son has been on the Current River in Missouri all week with the Boy Scouts. They paddled 92 miles over 5 days, camping each night.






They just arrived home an hour ago, so I haven't heard all the stories yet, but I wanted to share a few pics and highlights.
1. Simon wrote some limericks about his fellow paddlers (mostly about the capsizing events!),
2. Simon has an amazing paddler's tan, with VERY strong tan lines showing that he was wearing his PFD and his sandals all week.
3. It was very very very hot. So hot in fact that Si went directly to a cool bath upon arriving home. LOL




4. Si's canoe-mate was Dominic, pictured with him here.
5. Si is starving (well, nothing new there)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Dendrites

It's been a long time since I've talked about my crafting! Today I share brain cells! I'd found 2 different kinds of brain cell patterns online, one for knitting and one for crocheting.

Being primarily a knitter, I was fascinated to find the Knit a Neuron Project. Based in England, these are brain researchers who are using knitting as a way of sharing information about brain science and also hoping to end up with a 3D knitted representation of an actual human brain. Cool, huh?

I tried knitting a few of these little ditties, and they're easy and quick to knit. It's a good way to use up excess sock yarn, too, although I have other ways to do that, so I'm not worried about it. I also like participating in something international like this. I'll probably send my finished neurons over to the UK before too much longer.

A smidge of catnip inside, and they'd be perfect for my little fur-faced children . . . although Rosie would still probably prefer the little double-pointed wooden needles I use to knit them (she's weird like that).

Aesthetically, though, I didn't find these as striking as the crocheted neurons I'd seen on Etsy. I decided I had to try some of these, and I can't stop! They're free-form, and they're a blast to hook up. I can do one in an hour, and sometimes start the second. Also, they allow me to continue to contemplate the delicious and amazing miracle that is my brain (or anyone's brain, for that matter). As a casual student of brain research via early literacy, I've long been fascinated by how the brain is put together. And besides, aren't they cool?

Speaking of finished projects, I have 2 more to show off! One is the Branching Out scarf that I've been working on as a knit-along project with the weeknight knitting group I'm part of. I think the others finished months ago, but here is mine, finally being blocked. It's hard to see the pattern clearly because the yarn is so ethereal that it doesn't photograph well. Trust me, in real life it's pretty. Just don't look too closely, as there are quite a few . . . umm . . . design features in this beginning lace project. The pattern is less obvious in this variegated mohair, but that means it's a little less obvious when I make those . . . umm . . . alterations. (wink)

My other new FO is the vacation-knitting! I'm wearing the Argosy Wrap that I started for travel knitting, and I finished it up last weekend. - it's made of this wonderful silk/cotton blend with long self-striping colors. Love it!

I wore it to my first real Art Show! The Main library is currently having a juried show of all staff-created art. Submissions were sought a few months ago, and I submitted just one piece - this felted bag. It has pussy willows on it, and it is one of my best bags. If you recall, I started this a few years ago, inspired by the art of my friend Mary Ann.



Here I am with my bag on display in the gallery. They even displayed it so that you can walk around and see both sides. Exciting! The opening reception was Thursday evening, and the show runs through the last full week of August. If you're in or around downtown Columbus, do stop by! It's free, and there are many, many beautiful and interesting works of art by my colleagues at CML.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

On Being Great

Well, my library system has been chosen as the 2010 Library of the Year! It's a huge honor, and I'm so thrilled to be able to say that I've helped bring us to this point . . . me and hundreds of other dedicated staff and volunteers over the years. We do have an excellent library system, and we have been blessed with great leadership, both now and in the past. CML has long been on the cutting edge of great customer service, excellent services to children, babies, teens and most recently job hunters. Sunday a group of managers went to Washington, DC (paid for by our Friends of the Library) for the award ceremony and the celebration. We came back home on Monday (and we're all exhausted!). It was a good trip, though, and it was most generous of the Friends to charter that bus for us! What really ended up bringing me to tears, though, was after we got back when our marketing guru, Alison, wrote about me in her LJ blog. Wow. I'm humbled, but, of course, I still had to share it with you all. (blush) I think she is dramatizing my situation a little, but I sure do appreciate her props. Makes me feel all warm and gushy inside (in a good way).

Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day

I should have done this yesterday, but I was too busy wrapping up the travel blog.

Happy Father's Day to my dad, my dear husband, and my father-in-law. You guys are great!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Home Sweet Home!

We are home from our Epic Road Trip . . . and the blog is more or less done! Mike is still working on uploading his pics, but I'll let you know when they're ready for viewing!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

A few catch-up pics

A few weeks ago we visited my in-laws in Marietta, OH. It's a lovely little town on the Ohio and Muskingum rivers, and they're wonderful people so we enjoy visiting. Si and Mike also love to get a few bags of their favorite potato chips, Mister Bee's. They love them above all other chips, so when we saw a delivery truck parked a block away from Grandma's house, I just had to get Si to pose for pictures! There is a better pic of the truck, but as this one shows my teenager smiling it won out.

He was so happy to finally get some chips, he just stuck his head into the bag to breath in the goodness of Mister Bee's. LOL He is in heaven!










Mike and I have been trying to eat healthier, and for us that includes sushi. Thing is, sushi restaurants are EXPENSIVE! We've hit upon a compromise. We spend half the money or less and just buy the raw fish ourselves. Some cutting and arranging, and presto - our very own customized Sashimi platter!




More food than we'd get out, quality on par since we buy it from a Japanese grocer that supplies those restaurants, and as an added bonus we get to enjoy it in our own home and stuff! As you can see, I've been playing around with arranging.





Memorial Day brought us to Operation Flag. The Boy Scout troop goes to a local cemetary every year to replace flags at all the graves of veterans. It's a good thing they do. There's always some older veterans there to talk to, and the boys all get to be a part of honoring brave men and women who have fought to make our country what it is. Simon was even on the news! As the Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, he was the "ranking" scout for the event, and spoke for the troop. He did a great job! I was hoping it would be available online, but no dice. We caught it on DVR, though, and will be sharing DVDs with grandparents. :-) Maybe Si and I will upload it ourselves later today.

Today is our last day of work/school before THE EPIC ROAD TRIP! Our intent is to post daily updates from the road with video, so check back over the next couple of weeks and see if we managed to figure it out!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Vacation Planning

So far so good . . . our planned day of vacation start is getting pretty close now, and no one has to have surgery or be on medical alert or anything, so I am starting to think we might actually get to go! We've been wanting to take this epic road trip for about 5 years. We've been talking about visiting the Royal Tyrell museum for longer than that. Something has always gotten in the way (usually medical crap).

Well, this summer we are going on our much-anticipated trip! Yay! We are going up to Drumheller, Alberta (35 hours of driving) first, then perhaps to Calgary for a day. Then we'll do due South into Montana to the Glacier National Park, and come East via South Dakota (Devil's Tower, Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Badlands) with our final stop being Chicago to see friends and visit the Field Museum.

Our plan is to eat many meals out of our coolers, do some in-park cooking, and hit local eateries, avoiding national chains for the entire trip. We originally planned to camp as much as possible, but have opted to get inexpensive hotels instead to save the work of having to set-up and tear-down nearly every day. My SIL (a travel agent) has offered her on-call services, but we haven't decided if we want to just be spontaneous or if we want to call her each day and say "we'd like tonight to be in X location". LOL

We have made a deliberate decision NOT to take a GPS but to rely on maps, guidebooks and local people to find our routes, hotels and restaurants. We have our passports (first one ever for both Simon and ME!!!), and we traded in our old PT Cruiser for a mini-van several months ago.

We've spent hours and hours talking about routes, maps, timing and what we want to see. We've got a big stack of books on CD, some tried and true and others new to one or all of us. We purchased a new cooler (the one we got for a wedding gift has finally deteriorated beyond practical use) and we've made many, many lists. Mike has gotten extra memory chips for his good cameras so that he can properly document as well as really be an artist again.

We have someone to check on the house, the cats, the mail and the plants. The neighbors will also be watching out, as well as random other friends. Last minute prep will include:
  • going through our medications to ensure we have ample supplies to last the whole trip
  • laundry and packing, which could be interesting considering Glacier still has snow issues
  • updating our water bottles and camp dishes, making sure they're all clean
  • packing the cook box with all kitchen/camp cooking essentials
  • packing telescope, binoculars
  • checking first aid kit and updating expired stuff
  • grocery shopping
  • packing the van
  • for me, deciding what knitting projects/supplies to take
Can you tell we're excited? What kinds of things do you do to make sure you're ready for a 2 week vacation on the road?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Read any good children's books?

School Library Journal has created a list of what are considered by their readership to be the Top 100 Children's Novels.

One of my favorite Children's Lit blogs, written by two teachers, typed up the list and asked what books we've read. What a great idea (and thanks for doing the typing for me, my friends!)

I'm going to put the titles in PURPLE if I've read them! I've read a lot of really great books . . . is it any wonder it's hard to keep stuff in my head?

100. The Egypt Game – Snyder (1967)
99. The Indian in the Cupboard – Banks (1980)
98. Children of Green Knowe – Boston (1954)
97. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane – DiCamillo (2006)
96. The Witches – Dahl (1983)
95. Pippi Longstocking – Lindgren (1950)
94. Swallows and Amazons – Ransome (1930)
93. Caddie Woodlawn – Brink (1935)
92. Ella Enchanted – Levine (1997)
91. Sideways Stories from Wayside School – Sachar (1978)
90. Sarah, Plain and Tall – MacLachlan (1985)
89. Ramona and Her Father – Cleary (1977)
88. The High King – Alexander (1968)
87. The View from Saturday – Konigsburg (1996)
86. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Rowling (1999)
85. On the Banks of Plum Creek – Wilder (1937)
84. The Little White Horse – Goudge (1946)
83. The Thief – Turner (1997)
82. The Book of Three – Alexander (1964)
81. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon – Lin (2009)
80. The Graveyard Book – Gaiman (2008)
79. All-of-a-Kind-Family – Taylor (1951)
78. Johnny Tremain – Forbes (1943)
77. The City of Ember – DuPrau (2003)
76. Out of the Dust – Hesse (1997)
75. Love That Dog – Creech (2001)
74. The Borrowers – Norton (1953)
73. My Side of the Mountain – George (1959)
72. My Father’s Dragon – Gannett (1948)
71. The Bad Beginning – Snicket (1999)
70. Betsy-Tacy – Lovelae (1940)
69. The Mysterious Benedict Society – Stewart ( 2007)
68. Walk Two Moons – Creech (1994)
67. Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher – Coville (1991)
66. Henry Huggins – Cleary (1950)
65. Ballet Shoes – Stratfeild (1936)
64. A Long Way from Chicago – Peck (1998)
63. Gone-Away Lake – Enright (1957)
62. The Secret of the Old Clock – Keene (1959)
61. Stargirl – Spinelli (2000)
60. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle – Avi (1990)
59. Inkheart – Funke (2003)
58. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase – Aiken (1962)
57. Ramona Quimby, Age 8 – Cleary (1981)
56. Number the Stars – Lowry (1989)
55. The Great Gilly Hopkins – Paterson (1978)
54. The BFG – Dahl (1982)
53. Wind in the Willows – Grahame (1908)
52. The Invention of Hugo Cabret -- Selznik (2007)
51. The Saturdays – Enright (1941)
50. Island of the Blue Dolphins – O’Dell (1960)
49. Frindle – Clements (1996)
48. The Penderwicks – Birdsall (2005)
47. Bud, Not Buddy – Curtis (1999)
46. Where the Red Fern Grows – Rawls (1961)
45. The Golden Compass – Pullman (1995)
44. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing – Blume (1972)
43. Ramona the Pest – Cleary (1968)
42. Little House on the Prairie – Wilder (1935)
41. The Witch of Blackbird Pond – Speare (1958)
40. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – Baum (1900)
39. When You Reach Me – Stead (2009)
38. HP and the Order of the Phoenix – Rowling (2003)
37. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry – Taylor (1976)
36. Are You there, God? It’s Me, Margaret – Blume (1970)
35. HP and the Goblet of Fire – Rowling (2000)
34. The Watson’s Go to Birmingham – Curtis (1995)
33. James and the Giant Peach – Dahl (1961)
32. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH – O’Brian (1971)
31. Half Magic – Eager (1954)
30. Winnie-the-Pooh – Milne (1926)
29. The Dark Is Rising – Cooper (1973)
28. A Little Princess – Burnett (1905)
27. Alice I and II – Carroll (1865/72)
26. Hatchet – Paulsen (1989)
25. Little Women – Alcott (1868/9)
24. HP and the Deathly Hallows – Rowling (2007)
23. Little House in the Big Woods – Wilder (1932)
22. The Tale of Despereaux – DiCamillo (2003)
21. The Lightening Thief – Riordan (2005)
20. Tuck Everlasting – Babbitt (1975)
19. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Dahl (1964)
18. Matilda – Dahl (1988)
17. Maniac Magee – Spinelli (1990)
16. Harriet the Spy – Fitzhugh (1964)
15. Because of Winn-Dixie – DiCamillo (2000)
14. HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Rowling (1999)
13. Bridge to Terabithia – Paterson (1977)
12. The Hobbit – Tolkien (1938)
11. The Westing Game – Raskin (1978)
10. The Phantom Tollbooth – Juster (1961)
9. Anne of Green Gables – Montgomery (1908)
8. The Secret Garden – Burnett (1911)
7. The Giver -Lowry (1993)
6. Holes – Sachar (1998)
5. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler – Koningsburg (1967)
4. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – Lewis (1950)
3. Harry Potter #1 – Rowling (1997)
2. A Wrinkle in Time – L’Engle (1962)
1. Charlotte’s Web – White (1952)

Friday, April 02, 2010

Zoooooooooooooooo!

We can mark the progression of Simon's life through visits to the Zoo. We have had a membership there for as long as we've been married. I remember . . .
  • Going to the zoo while pregnant to get to know another couple better. Husband was a co-worker, and they were new in town, and his wife was preggers, too.
  • Taking babies to the zoo on "play dates", and seeing all the other children sound asleep in their strollers at the end of the day while my own kid was totally pumped up and ready to do it all again!
  • Simon's first complete spoken sentence was "I like animals."
  • Countless pictures of Si climbing on the animal statues, with time being determined by how large and then small the statues started to look compared to his body.
  • Going to Saturday morning programs for parents and preschoolers.
  • Taking my newly-potty-trained kid to Saturday classes at the zoo - without me!
  • Taking my growing boy to summer camp for day-long experiences at the zoo, only to pick him up after 5 full days and have him say "can we stay and look around some more?"
We have been so excited about all the improvements; reading about them in the newsletter, watching the construction. We watched the manatee building being built, the cool new play area where kids can act like bugs and animals (we particularly like the dung beetle ball-pushing), and each new big habitat area as they've opened. Our zoo has come so far over the years, and I feel like it's a part of our family, in a way, because we've grown along with it.

Last year when my parents were visiting around this time of year, we went to the zoo and took my wheel chair so I could be pushed around, knowing I didn't have the strength to walk far.

Today we walked through about a third of the zoo grounds. It was totally packed, being Spring Break for all schools and an absolutely glorious day. Simon is so knowledgable that as he was telling me about animals, their habit, quirks and habitats, other families would listen. It's like visiting Gettysburg with my husband - I have my own tour guide!

This is the koalas - I've circled where the 2 koalas are hiding!

Funny quotes from Si today:
  • as we entered the zoo: Ahhh - I think I feel my life force returning!
  • walking: Mmm, the familiar scent of over-buttered popcorn and primate excrement!
  • remember when I practically lived here? I need to do that again.
  • to the Komodo Dragon: Hello, buddy, you've been growing, haven't you?

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Decisions


I've been pondering decisions for a few weeks/months/years. Should I go for that next new job? Should I seek a promotion? These questions always lead me to re-evaluate where I am, what I'm doing with my life. I'm firmly middle-aged now (at the very least) and I have had a lot of health issues over the past several years. What is my purpose in this life? Why am I here? It's all tied in together, you see? How can a person make decisions about what to do in their career without considering what their purpose on this earth is, what their other goals are (family, health, finances) and what their priorities are and/or should be?

Weighty stuff, eh? You bet!

So lately I've specifically chosen not to pursue job advancement. This may seem surprising to some of you who know me because I've been frustrated with situations in the past where I've sought promotions and haven't gotten them. True, I was frustrated, and perhaps there is still some of that in my (the frustration), but this decision is different. I was moved to a new branch last June, and I really like it here. My staff is great, the challenges are interesting, and the potential at this location for what we can do in the community . .. well . . . the potential is amazing. I've put down some roots and I've started my vision gears cranking. I can't move now! In other words, as much as it pains me to admit it (love you, Boss!), my boss put me in the right spot. LOL

So what does that say about all those other heady questions? Well, it says what I've said here on my blog before. I'm here to try to make a difference in the world. I can't say it as well as this song can, so I'll ask you to follow the link. Happy Spring!

Friday, March 26, 2010

3 Beautiful Images

They're not great photography, but the images make me happy.

Exhibit #1: Samwise, trying to get as far under the shelf as possible to feel the heat from the vent that's under there on his face.




Exhibit #2: Cheese Souffle. We had this for Sunday breakfast a few weeks ago, and I had meant to post the pic then. It still looks delish. Think I'll make another one this weekend.






Exhibit #3: Rice Krispie treats in the shape of hearts. Yup, they were for Valentine's Day. I'm a little late uploading pics, obviously. These were yum and very easy to work into my eating plan (unlike the souffle!).

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

3 Beautiful Things

I came across this article today with 10 tips for staying happy at work. All good advice! In honor of this list, I'm doing all 3 BT's about work today (I know, yesterday had 2 of them about work - weird, huh?).

1. My office window is now decorated with huge retro flowers in bright purple, pink and lime green!

2. I went to help the Ready to Read Corps at the Free Store today, and Abby was so good at working the crowd. It made me feel so good and proud and strong, knowing that CML is doing great things with amazing people in those jobs.

3. A toddler was having a crying fit when I went out to the public area this afternoon, and when he saw me he paused and gave a half smile. He was obviously too tired to stay calm, but I think he's getting to know me a little, and it made me feel good that he stopped long enough to let me read him a quick book.

Bonus BT: planning a little surprise that is going to make my son's eyes sparkle tomorrow. :-)

Monday, March 15, 2010

3 Beautiful Things

1. Reading with 3 little boys today, they all crowded close so we could talk about the Spiderman Villains together. I am thankful that my own (not so) little boy educated me well on this topic!

2. A young girl came in tonight and said "I read those books you left for me last week. They were fun. Do you have any more?" Do I have more? Seriously?

3. Finding a new song on the radio that touches me so deeply that I think "I have to learn that song right now."