Sunday, June 29, 2008

Back at Work

I got to work early on Saturday, expecting a ton of e-mail to sort through. I had only 43 messages. Children's Librarian and I found we were vacationing ships passing in the day: she's off to the beach for the coming week. We got ore pre- and post-vacation minds together, opened, and I did these things:
  • I remember nearly all passwords for various lib softwares on the first try!
  • Dude says, How do I sign into my Comcast account? (Um, with the password you created with them?) He comes back later, because "it still won't let me in." I note that he's typed "Mr Blah Bluh" in the box that comes before "" and I say, Now that's an unusual e-mail address, are you sure you created it that way, with spaces and all? "Oh, I don't have e-mail. I just put that there."
  • She's using Word's calendar template and I get lucky and immediately find "gridlines" for her even though I never use that template. She thinks I am a genius and gushes about her new(?) job and whatnot.
  • Sure, let's sign you up for kiddie summer reading! I have totally forgotten how the prizes work, but I am sure you will love them!
  • I get an adult and various random middle schoolers signed up for their SRCs with less drama.
  • Most kids (or their designated grown ups, who call back home to check the title with the kid) looking for school summer reading titles come from Neighboring County and I decided to print more of those lists and provide links on staff blog for my colleagues.
  • I run a report with the summer reading club program and see that, finally, more kids from "my" middle school are signed up for the SRC. For the longest time, of the 317 tweens I pitched SRC to, only 3 had signed up.
  • A man plays "that other lady always does it for me" and gets me to look up Selina and some gospel singers for him and print off pages. Then he complains because the print is so small. (Well, this is why we like you to do it yourself, I don't say.)
  • A cool, quirky woman we see often is camping at the lib because her A/C is out for the weekend. She finds the general hubbub too much and gets a study room, but she hears weird running water sounds in their so she comes out again.
  • Two cool high schoolers complete the teen treasure hunt really quickly. After seeing so many 12-year-olds who needed help to go from clue to clue around the lib, it's nice to see that some people can get it without a hitch.
  • At 2:45, the day seemed infinitely long, and I craved my daily splash in the Bay, then suddenly CL was doing the closing announcement on the PA and it was time to find the keys and toss out folks!
Re-reading: The Hobbit came camping with me and I am nearly done, but Phusband wants to go see "Get Smart" today.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Where I've Been

Camping on the Eastern Shore! Here's a shot from a bizarre hike on a "boardwalk" (two planks wide) across a wetland. There were many beautiful sights, and some good birdwatching. We saw a yellow-crowned night heron -- new for my life list. We also saw signs that people, no matter how pretty their surroundings, are pigs.

Today, we returned a loaner SUV to my folks. On the way home, we stopped at an antiques mall, and we almost wished we still had the gas-guzzler, but this chair did fit in the Accord!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sowing Seeds of Mistrust

When I taught "Word I" at my lib last night, I may have planted a little more than healthy skepticism in the minds of my students. I pointed out that they do not have to agree with MS on spelling or grammar -- probably, you can spell your own last name correctly. I may have answered one or two questions with "because MS thought it was a good idea to make it work that way." So when a student asked "How do we know it really saved?" after clicking the disk icon and not even catching a flicker in the screen to indicate that something had happened, I had to sheepishly encourage them to trust the software maker on that one.

Just finished reading: Unacustomed Earth, Jhumpa Lahiri. Damn, what fine writing.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Saturday, June 14, 2008

In preparation for summer camp season, perhaps, an item from Wired on the Swiss Army knife.

See also:
Victorinox history, here. Browse their fine products, here.
To prepare a kid to go to summer camp, read up on tips from the American Camping Association.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


So, yeah, we have summer reading clubs (SRC). It's not the kind of thing sibling and I would have been signed up for as kids, but many of my lib's peeps do start looking for it at the beginning of May. I don't know if SRCs didn't exist in the 70s, if we weren't joiners, or if Mom felt like The last thing we need in the house is more bits of paper stickers and random little prizes.

My library system does run a great club for teens. (That's middle schoolers and high schoolers: so many rising 6th and 7th graders seem to think I will get them in trouble for signing them up for the Teen Club. The Young Adult Services Committee -- like many similar groups at libraries everywhere -- specifically chose to call the club "teen" because we don't think anyone really relates to the term "young adult.") When a teen or her parent looks skeptical in response to the opening, Would you like to join our summer reading club?, it's easy to blurb the whole complicated process as "All you gotta do is keep an online list of either numbers of books read or the titles of each book, and keeping that list up to date automatically puts you in drawings for great prizes like pizza and movie gift certificates -- and even our grand prize of an MP3 player!"

I don't say it exactly the same every time, of course, like the time I must not have said "gift certificate," because the boy wanted to know how I was going to get the pizza to him, still hot!

We've been signing people (there are clubs for all ages) up since May, but this week the logging feature of the online lists went live. People can now type in what they read, and teens and adults can write book reviews. Yesterday, a newish patron, an energetic boy of 12 or so, made a beeline for a PC, opened up summer reading without a hitch, then zipped back over to me. "I want to write a book review but I can't spell the title!" Well, what is it? "The Tale of Despereaux." Damn, I did not say out loud: that's up there on my Top Titles I Cannot Spell list along with Fahrenheit 451 and The Metamorphosis . And, because OPACs suck, you need to have the spelling darn close to find the book. What I did say was, "Let me show you the notebook over here in YA with all this summer's reading lists in it." Oh yeah: good save.

Capital City weather: the heat wave that kept us over 100 broke last night, and we should linger in the 80s for several days. Whew.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Librarian Girl has a standard speech for us, when, like athletes, we have microphones thrust at us:

Well we started out strong today with a string of reference questions answered but then a committee meeting came up and we just lost our footing for a moment but we recovered during lunch when my salad was full of crispy postivity. We dodged some dicey situations in the afterschool hours and could have given up but we came through and finished clean with a batch of new books and some witty repartee. Peace.

While that does sound like a typical day, my Friday was quieter than typcial:

A specific book on Alzheimer's? No; we'd be glad to ILL it.

My coworker handled the woman who wanted to know if her email would still be "on the screen" from yesterday. She hadn't written it down and need to know what it was to get back to the job application site. . . .

I enjoyed seeing a Teen Advisory Board "grad" back home for the summer from her Ivy League school

At 35 minutes until closing a mom and a toddler came in: They needed books on topics like No Hitting and Sharing Is Nice.

Additional Reading: Zenith has a nice article on the history of the television remote, here.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Reunion, Part 2

Literally and figuratively, a picnic on the green follows the parade as the big thing on reunion weekends. One of the first meals incoming students get is a picnic dinner. Cookouts on the green appear again for Family Weekend and once or twice in the spring. I like eating outside with a huge community/family. Here's Michelle & Fran:

Just beyond my lunch bunch, you can see the new addition to Blanchard.

Blanchard houses the student center, the campus store (which no longer sell text books!), offices, and a food court-ish space. The campus store, another Must, was packed, but shoppers were cheery. The store's staff was about as gruff as always. Though, there was a cheerful young woman working who seemed to be telling her line that this wasn't the campus shop she usually worked in -- it was so nice here, and how 'bout that parade?

Of course, I gave Phil and the Teen a tour, with predictable stops like the library:

Then Teen and I joined a large crowd touring the New Dorm.

I wonder how long the college will wait to see if a donor wants to buy naming rights? How long before we can all vote on something? I would suggest honoring beloved college figures: Kennan, DeLonga, or Calhoun, anyone? Speaking of Liz, I ran into some classmates upstairs in the library where there's a portrait of President Kennan. I was trying to articulate what it was about the breezy pose (striding with academic robe, flying, over a red(?) dress) and the dog at her heels that I didn't like, when one classmate appeared and pronounced it "too Carol Burnett." Yes, that's it.

Here's Ween. She loves to entertain.

After the tour, we had just enough time to drive up the Mountain. I had not been in the restored summit house, yet. There are sample bedrooms and other displays. It's a great space. P and I climbed to the top deck.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Glory Be!

A Wacky Packages book!! (via Bookgasm)
In the Stacks

I worked only half a day yesterday so I could take the Teen to the orthodontist. During the drive to the suburbs, I wasn't feeling chatty, but she hates silence in the car. She likes to mimic my typical questions and, so often asks what I did at work.

"Mostly, signed up people for computer classes. Registration for July classes opened this morning. And tried to explain meeting room reservation rules. Oh, I did help a woman find a novel by Nicholas Sparks."

I did not mention to Teen that both copies of the book seemed to have sand trapped in their covers. People: Just because the book is set on the Outer Banks, it does not mean you need to take it there and incorporate it into your sand castle. (More on Rodanthe, NC: live image, here and text info, here.)

Monday, June 02, 2008

Reunion Part 1

So much happens in twenty years: births and deaths; marriages-divorces-new marriages; careers are launched, impressive new titles bestowed, careers are changed up (several times). Yet, MHC Class of '88 seemed remarkably the same. Even women whose names I never really knew looked much the same: Over there, by Whosit -- the blonde? She looks just the same, only with lines at the corner of her eyes. (Many of us have new lines on our faces and white in our hair, and that's okay.) I'd know her anywhere as a classmate, even though I can't think of her name.

The first classmate I spotted was hot off the road from her drive up from Maryland. SS live in North Rocky, too, freshman year, and we were bio lab partners. Her kids must have been angels for the long drive, because she jumped out of the car fresh and spunky as ever! I had just negotiated my way into two rooms in Torrey because, the alumnae association staffer said, most families have no trouble sharing a dorm room with their children, so of course we had been assigned one room -- I felt less than spunky.

Our Torrey rooms were a let down -- the furniture looked like crap. The rooms always look grim when empty; no matter how often you repeat this, it's hard to be prepared. Luckily, class headquarters was Ham Hall, so we got out of the dorm quick, and strolled just up the hill for a drink.

We saw Sheree there.

Our next stop was town. (What did we say, back in the day? I'm going: Uptown? Into town?) We visited the Odyssey, and found the restaurants packed with people who had made graduation weekend - reunion weekend reservations. . . . We got back in the car and found some pizza.

Saturday, of course, is all about the Laurel Parade (click here for history of).