Thursday, August 30, 2007

things i will miss ...

the 7 train and its wandering mariachi musicians

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

cleavage + bike = trouble

this morning i decided to ride my bike to work, since it is so very very close and my time here is so very very limited. le sigh. now, i bike places all the time. typically free of harrassment. i decided to wear a tank top so that i wouldn't get too sweaty. i guess the men on the brooklyn/queens border have never seen a girl on a bike WEARING A TANK TOP! my god! so scandalous! and i was wearing a skirt. now anyone who has been to the billyburg/greenpoint area has seen a hipster chick on a bike whilst wearing a skirt. no big deal. i mean, it wasn't a short skirt or anything. it was knee length. this is a downright puritanical outfit.
almost immediately the comments began, including one gentleman who told me to "work that." by the time i crossed over the bridge it had gotten so bad that i decided i didn't care about sweatiness and i would just put on my regular sleeved shirt. but the fact that i need to add sleeves in order to ride a bike free from sexual harassment really bothers me. i mean, a comment here or there i can take. but every man i passed needed to say something to me.
finally i get to work. there were no more comments once i put my sleeved shirt on. i arrived so early that i had time to go to this little spanish bakery and get a fresh squeezed orange juice. the woman squeezed it right there. it was awesome. then i sat in the park outside the library and listened to my audiobook of eclipse on my ipod. so there i am, IN SLEEVES, drinking freshly squeezed orange juice, listening to my audiobook, minding my own business. and this man sitting on the bench across from me starts leering at me. not staring, not glancing my way, he was downright leering. then he starting making kissy sounds at me. i rolled my eyes, making a loud tsk sound and tried to ignore him.
what is wrong with you men?! have you never seen a woman before? really, this is just absurd. and honestly, it makes you guys seem a little pathetic. i know it's not all of you, but you few out there (you know who you are) you are ruining it for everyone. dare i say, for all mankind.
next time i will wear a burka to work. or is there a group of burka fetishists who will be turned on by that as well?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

just got the call

i have to go back to my regularly scheduled library. le sigh. i only have one week left at the new new library and then i have to go back to being librarian in the hood. i don't mean to be spoiled or overly white, but i don't want to be a librarian in the hood anymore. i like it here. i do not miss spending the majority of my day out in no-man's-land where they don't have any restaurants and i can't run errands on my lunch hour and every time i step out of the building i am "greeted" by the local men. le sigh again. how long before my six months probation is up and i can put in for a transfer to another branch?

Monday, August 27, 2007

i'm a bit of a sell-out

i didn't want to do it ... really. but i had no choice. i couldn't take the waiting any longer. i used the remains of my itunes gift certificate and i bought the audiobook of eclipse. i know, the shame of it! paying for literature when i have it all at my fingertips. but the waitlist has been SO long. i can't stand it! i must know what happens! does bella become a vampire? does she end up with edward? jacob? i hope its edward, jacob is such a whiny little bitch. i can't wait to find out! if you've read it already, don't tell me what happens!

large and in charge

i am in charge of the children's room. ALL WEEK! the regular children's librarian is on vacation this week. what sort of mayhem and mischeif will i get up to? only time will tell.

Friday, August 24, 2007

more fun than a barrel of meat pasties and fried chicken

thursday was the last day of the summer reading club. our week of ice cream parties has finally come to an end. thank god.
this woman who used to be in charge of YA here, moved to another library, leaving little old me in charge of everything. which i love, because i get bored without a project to be working on. so i start planning the YA party, but unbeknownst to me this woman is planning the party from afar, even though she no longer works here. turns out she's planning on coming to "help" me. well, isn't that nice? who doesn't want help?
so she turns up and i fill her in on the plans i've made: ice cream sundae station, movie, pizza, certificates, lame prizes, etc.
"oh really?" she says, "that's not what i planned at all."
"oh," i say, wondering if i am in trouble or have over-stepped my bounds, "i didn't know you planned anything. no one told me anything, so i just went ahead and planned this." then i add, you know, to save my own ass, "the kids wanted pizza and ice cream. they're very excited."
"but what about the meat pies?"
"we were going to serve meat pies."
now, i don't know if this is a cultural thing or just the fact that i am a vegetarian but meat pies don't sound like a party to me. ice cream and pizza ... that's a party.
"hmmm, well i guess its too late for that. and the kids never mentioned it."
"oh ok," she says accepting that it is, alas, too late for meat pies.
so we chat for a little while and then her eyes brighten like she's just remembered something exciting is going to happen. she asks, "but you got fried chicken, right?"
"no," i say, starting to get a little annoyed. "just ice cream and pizza. you know ... fun party food."
soon, it becomes time to start setting up. i'm lugging big tubs of ice cream around and whatnot. setting out sprinkles and mini m&ms and heating fudgy toppings. where is the help from this woman? nowhere, she totally disappears. i find out later she had left to go buy her neice school supplies. on library time, of course. she conveniently reappears after i've delagated some teen helpers to scoop out ice cream and have gotten all the kids sitting quietly watching a movie. typical.
so i relax with my ice cream sundae (mini m&ms are the greatest invention. who knew?) and after a few minutes i begin to hear some chattering in the background with my supersonic librarian hearing. i look over and who should i see chatting up a storm ... the teens? no. its this woman, paid librarian, chattering away not exactly to herself but not exactly to anyone either. now, i don't exactly know how to tell a fellow employee to be quiet during a movie, so i just ignore her and try to focus on the fact that the kids are happily eating their ice cream and pizza and all is well.
eventually the kids start to leave and i dole out prizes and certificates, and this woman helps me clean up. as we're cleaning i begin patting myself on the back at a party well-thrown. and what does this woman say? does she agree? no. she begins to lament, yet again, over the lack of meat pies and fried chicken.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

mean mean woman

its been a week or so since i've seen crazy prize woman. as you can imagine i've been crying myself to sleep at night missing her so much. and then today, lucky day, she reappeared. yesterday there was an end-of-summer party for the younger kids, but she didn't bring her children. so today she comes in and says that she would like her kids to get the prizes that were given out in yesterday's program. the other librarian, who is actually in charge of the children's room, tells her that once she is finished with today's program, she will give the children their prizes. as soon as the other librarian leaves, crazy mother comes up to me and says that her kids have read SO many books and she wants them to get prizes. as she is saying this her youngest child tosses several book logs at me. charming. very charming. so i reiterate to crazy mother that when the other librarian comes back she will give the kids prizes. the other librarian had said this all of thirty seconds ago. then crazy mother goes on and on about how her kids need the prizes for reading books, and the other librarian had only mentioned the prizes for the party. nothing is good enough for this woman so i decide to just let the other librarian handle it, since she is ultimately in charge. crazy woman skulks off.
a few minutes later she comes up to me with a handful of word searches, and says that her kids finished the word searches and need their prizes. fair enough. so i look at the word searches only to realize that they aren't actually done. (i had heard she was in the other day and was having difficulty finding all the words. i swear to god. not making that up.) anyway, i pointed out that the "kids" hadn't finished their puzzles, pointing to the words they hadn't found. not only that, i noticed on some of them that random letters were circled in lieu of actually finding the appropriate words. i didn't mention this part to her. i just said all sweetly to her kids, "you need to go back and find these other words, okay? then you can get your prizes, okay?"
then, she actually tries to tell me that i'm wrong and that the kids found all the words. now, remember back to being a kid filling out word searches ... you look at the word list, then you find the word in a big puzzle, then you circle the word. then you cross out or check off the word from the list.
"but ma'am, these words here? they aren't checked off on the list? and i don't see them circled anywhere in the puzzle?"
yes, this is a new low ... arguing with a grown woman about the completion level of a word search.
later i found out that she quizzed the other librarian for my name so that she could "report me." of course the other librarian refused. he he he he. but then she went and found the library manager and chewed her ear off, telling her that i am "very mean" to her and her children. not only that, according to her i am "stingy," and no one in all of queens wants to deal with me because i am so stingy and mean. NO ONE.
the library manager pulled me aside to ask me what happened, and i calmly explained that this woman is certifiably insane. INSANE! the manager believed me, but told me i need to "watch my back."
i just hope to god that if this woman ever calls up central to "report me" the good people there will see that she is loony and not pay any attention to her.

lies! all lies!

my book isn't really here ... and i still don't have a date for this wedding.

can it be?

have the library gods answered my prayers?
is my book truly waiting patiently for me downstairs?
the anticipation is killing me.
but first i must complete the teen problem novel i'm reading about a drag queen running for homecoming court. oh, the drama!

woe is me

i am officially dateless for my friend's wedding next weekend. am i forgetting anyone? any single men want to accompany me to lancaster pa?

Monday, August 20, 2007

ode to eclipse: a haiku

one day you'll be mine ...
oh library gods
waiting list forsaken me
i support edward

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

braless and swinging a sack full of cats

my roommate and i have this strange private joke that most likely will not translate well. she is kind of a tough chick, in a cool way, and sometimes when people piss her off she will just sort of erupt and go off on them. for instance, one time some guy cat-called her and she got all up in his face and started screaming at him. so we joke that one day she will turn into a mean old lady with hundreds of cats. this will be bad for many reasons, one of them being that she is allergic to cats. but then we decided she would be more than just your typical cat lady ... she would be armed with a sackfull of cats which she could wield as a weapon on those who cross her.
so around 1 am last night when i was just about to fall asleep after watching several downloaded episodes of dexter (have you seen this yet? its really good), i hear this very loud distruptive noise from outside my window. kind of like large pieces of the street are being torn from the ground. i look outside my window and i see flashing lights and yellow cones and caution tape strewn about. i lie back down but this very loud annoying noise will not go away. i don't know, maybe it was my entire body being ridiculously sore from boot camp class combined with the sadness of certain boy geniuses absconding to cleveland, but i just could not take this for one more second.

wearing only a tanktop, boxer shorts and flip flops, i burst out (quite literally since i forgot to put on a bra) onto the street only to find a keyspan crew with lots of large equipment jackhammering the asphalt. so i cross under the caution tape, and stand safely behind some big yellow machine for digging stuff and begin yelling at these men. it went something like this:

me: hey

asshole with jackhammer:

me: HEY!

asshole with jackhammer:

me: HEY YOU!

asshole with jackhammer: (finally turns to see me and stops jackhammering) yeah?


asshole with jackhammer: (he thinks about it for a second, then shrugs) no

me: (screaming like a madwoman) are you kidding me?! 1 am?! 1 am is when you have to do this?!

then he mutters something about gasleaks and getting a call and i turn on my heels and storm back into my apartment, slamming my front door behind me.

when i get back into my apartment, my roommate emerges in her pjs asking what the hell is going on. i tell her of my encounter with the keyspan guy and his "gasleak excuse." she goes back into her bedroom muttering about how there are no gasleaks and she will be calling The City. i don't ask her how one calls The City.

when i get back into bed the jackhammering continues for a minute and then suddenly it stops. i hear the keyspan men talking outside for a while but soon there is silence again. i like to think that i intimidated them into leaving.

Monday, August 13, 2007

getting knitty with it

one of the girls from my knitting program came in today to show me that she finished the entire ball of yarn i gave her. i'm actually really impressed, she did a great job with it. she said she was going to give it to her grandpa to wear as a scarf. i hope her grandpa is secure enough in his manhood to wear a short pink and purple muffler.

beware of places with "far" in the name

it took me one hour and forty-five minutes to get home from stupid far rockaway. did i tell you? well, now you know. and it was SO cold i had to stop and buy a cappucino and heart-shaped cookies, which i gave to my man before he went to cleveland, which is also very stupid and far. but this leads me to my question ... which is the quicker trip: going to cleveland or going to far rockaway? only time will tell.

Friday, August 10, 2007

girl from strange land gets a sweater

i am much happier now ... i found a chinese place on my lunch hour and lo and behold there was a rainbow shop across the street. i don't know what it is, but sometimes i feel like i have some sort of radar sense when i comes to shopping. i walked into that store and instantly i was able to hone in on an appropriate sweater. 14 bucks, how can you go wrong? so as i am paying for it, the old man behind the counter asks me where i am from. is it that obvious i don't belong here? and what is it about queens that everyone assumes i am not local? do i act like a foreigner? are the ways of this borough alien to me? anyway, i tell him i'm from brooklyn and it turns out he is as well and we have a nice little laugh about being from brooklyn.
when i get back to the library the librarian woman who i had been talking to earlier asked if i was able to get lunch alright. she really is very nice. so i proudly point to the new sweater i'm wearing and say, "i even got a sweater (we had both discussed how chilly we were) ... rainbow shop!"
and again she looks at me like i am just the oddest creature she has even laid eyes on. and then she walks away both amused and slight bewildered. seriously ... where am i?

i want the world ... the whole world at my fingertips

i realize that i have grown accustomed to having whatever i want at my disposal instantly. and if not instantly, i arrange to have it delivered to my home at a time which is convenient to me. for example, my groceries will be arriving between 9-10:30 pm on sunday.
why didn't i bring a sweater? i'm freezing! but i digress ...
so i asked one of the librarians here if there was any good places to eat around here. she kind of tilted her head at me as if looking at a lost puppy. then i elaborated, "or any place to eat?" she went on to tell me that there are no real restaurants within walking distance, but she was nice enough to find me a chinese take-out menu. apparently, everyone in the rockaways have cars. then i realize i only have $4 on me. so i ask the woman where the nearest atm machine is. seriously, she looked at me as though i was asking for something very exotic, like "do you know where the nearest spa is? i need a seaweed scrub." so there may or may not be an atm machine a few blocks from here. that's what the consensus is amongst employees.
seriously, where am i? its like i'm at the edge of the known world. and i really wish i had a sweater.

rock rock rockaway beach ... is really really far

90 minutes. 90 minutes is took me to get here. that is an entire feature length film. it took me an entire feature length film to get here. and when i finally got off the bus a small monsoon erupted and blew my umbrella inside out and my skirt is now soaked. and there are little bugs here and they're making me itchy. 90 minutes.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

grrrrrr morning

i got into work this morning to find out that "they" are sending me to the rockaways tomorrow. i looked at a map, there is nothing more far than far rockaway. well, maybe cleveland is further. but it's still damned far. grrrrrrrr.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

i heart buses

i think i may have mentioned how glorious my new commute is. but today when i got on the bus which i conveniently catch ride outside my house, it was filled with people. usually it's empty. then we get on the bqe and it is bumper to bumper traffic and everything is chaos. so i wind up getting to work 20 minutes late, but instead of people being mad, everyone is thrilled that i showed up at all. (who wouldn't love it here?) turns out that all the subways in brooklyn and queens are flooded and everyone that takes a subway to work can't come in. oooooh, my fabulous bus commute saves the day! i am left in charge of the children's room! so in honor of buses i would like to tell you all a story of one of my all-time favorite patrons to hate ... the bus lady.
when i worked at albany public, there were many patrons that used the bus system. it was a pretty decent bus system. many people didn't have cars and were able to use buses as their primary source of transportation. so one day this woman came in, probably in her sixties, and started yelling at me that "they" hadn't put up her flyer. she was wearing a ratty old coat and a see-through purple plastic rain bonnet. the piece de resistance of this ensemble was a handmade embroidered pin that read "i heart buses." oh, how i learned to dread when i saw that pin.
so as she approached the desk, i noticed that my other co-workers all seemed to take a large step back, leaving me to help this woman. turns out she headed a "bus group" who met once a month to discuss various bus issues. and she wanted to know why her bus group flyers weren't posted yet. because really, if the public knew in advance about this bus group she was certain that many many more members would be flooding the group. breaking down the doors even.
i explained calmly and rationally that the library had to approve all flyers before they were posted and that they were approved in the order they are received. her flyer at the time was on the bottom of the pile. so she went off in a huff.
i soon learned that she was a regular, and few days she would come in with a bus related complaint. "is the meeting room reserved for my bus meeting?" she'd ask. "i called last week to reserve it."
"yes, it's still reserved for you."
"where are my flyers? why aren't you promoting my group?"
and every month on and on about the flyers and the important work her group was doing. everything else going on in the library paled in comparison to the urgentness of the bus group.
but my favorite encounter with her was one cold snowy day in december she came up to the desk and asked if we'd be open on christmas. i told her no, we would be closed christmas eve and christmas day.
"christmas eve and christmas day," she said, appalled. "why do you need to be closed both days?"
"we hardly ever close ma'am," i told her, which was true. there were only a handful of holidays the library actually closed on.
"where will the people go?!"
"ummm," i said, kinda confused. "i guess they'll just have to stay home those days? maybe with their families?"
"that's not right!" she screamed, then stormed off. i believe i shouted "happy holidays" at her as she skulked away into the sunset.
this probably isn't funny, but it's kind of funny ... years later, a friend of mine emailed me to tell me that the bus lady was hit by a bus. ironic, no?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

so easy a librarian can do it ... well, not really

so in my shameless attempts to get people to subscribe to my blog, telling everyone how very easy it is to subscribe, i decided i myself should subscribe. that way i will know all the ins and outs of subscribing and whatnot. but then, to my dismay, it turns out that i could not figure out how to subscribe myself. there were all sorts of complicated steps and it was terribly confusing and then i gave up. so i beseach you, my 11 loyal blog subscribers, please post a comment explaining how to subscribe since so many of us cannot figure it out. thanks!

Monday, August 6, 2007

the return of crazy mother

crazy mother comes up to me with her two kids and asks for the prizes for this week's puzzle. i pull out the bags of prizes and let them go through it telling them that they each get one prize each. then crazy mother says that she has another child who isn't here and she should get a prize for that child. i explain to her that only children who are actually here can get prizes, and that the next time this mystery child comes to the library she can pick up her prize. she grumbles about this and then the regular children's librarian comes over and reiterates that it is a one prize per child system. but this is not the last we'll hear of crazy mother. oh no.
as i'm leaving the children's room to take my break and work on my ny times crossword puzzle, i see crazy mother talking to one of our teen pages (page: a teen who puts away books for minimum wage). and i hear her complaining to this very nice innocent teenage girl about the injustice of the prize distribution. so i say to her, "ma'am, if you have a problem with the prizes you must speak to the librarian. you can't talk to the pages. they have no authority over this."
then she explodes into rapid fire mode and starts saying that she is friends with the page, she is just talking to her, she can talk to whoever she wants.
now, for a second i wonder if i screwed up. maybe crazy mother is friends with the page. maybe they're neighbors and they know each other and she has every right to be speaking to her. so i just say calmly, "well ma'am, i heard you talking about the prizes and i just want you to know that the pages can't help you with this. only the librarians can help you if you have a complaint."
then she says that she knows the page's family and that she was talking to the page because she is SO upset that her son reads SO many books and he gets, and i quote, "absolutely nothing."
at this point i just walk away because we have given her children several prizes each week. what does she want? we should give her son an iPod every time he reads a Curious George book? no, i think he'll get a plastic dinosaur finger puppet like everyone else.
a little while later i find out page, who as i've said is the sweetest girl ever, and i ask her if she really is "friends" with crazy mother.
"i've never seen her before in my life," she tells me. then she goes on to say how this woman just accosted her and started ranting about prizes.
"so she doesn't know your family?" i ask.
"no, and then after you left she started speaking to me in hindi."
now, this is odd because i always thought our page was hispanic. as if reading my mind she adds, "i don't even speak hindi. i speak spanish."
ahhhhhh, crazy mother strikes again.

Friday, August 3, 2007

why i dislike the branch system: part I

so yesterday i had a lovely day at the library ... my teen group is actually learning to knit. yesterday i had about 5 kids and they had all retained the knitting skills i had taught them last week. and they were actually knitting this week! all by themselves! it was very gratifying. i even have a guy knitting! of course, he may only be coming to the group because he thinks i'm cute, but whatever.
last night was my first late night at the new new library. and it was really good. people asked lots of questions. and get this ... they were all questions about books! smart books! i got questions like, "i'm doing research on che guevera, what books to you have by him or about him? oh, and i need them in spanish." now, that's a reference question. how i love working with sane patrons.
while i was working the reference desk, i was also trying to chat up the manager, who just returned from her vacation to find fabulous little ol' me working at her branch. so i told her how much i love the branch and how everyone is so nice and how convenient it is for me to get here and how i would just love love love to have this branch be my branch. and then she explained how i have to put in for a transfer once i'm past my 6 month probation period yada yada yada, etc etc etc.
so i asked her, all sly like, what would happen if, oh lets say for argument's sake, a librarian really loved one branch and the people at this completely hypothetical branch really loved that librarian and wanted her to work there, would the manager of that branch be able to pull strings to get the beloved librarian to work there. and sadly, her answer was no. it is all in the puppet master hands of the bureaucracy.
which means that in a branch system, managers have no control over who they get to hire, meaning they have no control over creating a good staff, which leads to creating a good work environment. which leads me to my carefully crafted conclusion: branches suck.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

why what are we going to do tomorrow night? TRY TO TAKE OVER THE LIBRARY!

today i met the manager of the library ... she had been on vacation since i'd gotten here. anyway, she was SO happy to hear how helpful i am. and SO excited about me doing teen programs. and today we decided that i should be in charge of planning the teen summer reading party at the end of the summer. woo hoo! i am totally taking over. it's sad though because i think the bureaucracy is going to make me go back to my original far far away branch and make me go through the possibly long and annoying transfer process when really they should just let me stay here ... at this glorious library where everything i do is appreciated and it is only 30 MINUTES from my house.

my new commute, how do i love thee? let me count the ways ...

last night whilst on my glorious commute home i passed by the most fabulous sights. maybe it's just because i grew up in the burbs, but they were fabulous nonetheless. first, i saw children playing in the spray of a fire hydrant. i always wanted to do that as a kid. i must have seen it on tv or something. but alas, i don't think you're allowed to play in fire hydrants on long island. i think they are reserved for use during a fire. lame. then, i saw people playing stick ball. stick ball! there were four guys: a pitcher and a "fielder" on one side of the street and then a batter and a catcher on the other side of the street. the batter was aiming at the tall school building directly behind the "fielder." as i cautiously passed by i heard them discussing what constitutes a homerun:
stickball player #1: i thought a homerun was when you hit the third floor windows or higher
stickball player #2: hey ... homeruns is homeruns
so true ... homeruns is homeruns.
and then i heard paul simon's "me and julio down by the school yard" playing off in the distance.
okay, that part isn't true.
but everything else is.
i heart queens.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

library domination

so it turns out that the woman who had just become the young adult librarian here has been promoted to manager at a different branch. so she's now out of the picture leaving little old me as the only person who knows how to do teen programming. he he he he he. even though i'm not allowed to transfer until my 6 month probation is over, i am totally taking over this library. they won't know what hit them. i will organize the teens into my own personal army! okay, maybe that last part isn't true, but still you get the idea.
today i was talking to the assistant manager and she seems a bit confused about where and when we can have teen programs once the summer is over. they have hours and hours of children's programs, but squeezing in some time for the teens is proving a little difficult. prioritize people! we need to have a manga club! stat!
then when we were discussing program ideas, i showed her some stuff the teens came up with. totally on their own. no help from me. i didn't make any suggestions. these ideas included a videogame tournament, hip hop dance lessons, jean decorating, etc. and the manager was more into SAT prep, homework help, how to get into college. totally lame. we comprimised on jewelry decorating. dominating this library will take work. but i think i can do it.

the fastest hands of north west queens

i just had a little girl marvel at my ability to type so quickly. she looked at my, her eyes big with awe and said "i want to be just like you when i grow up." yes children, there is much to aspire to if you choose to follow in these footsteps.