Thursday, January 31, 2008

all svelte up and nowhere to go

the glam rocker is dead to me! you heard it here first. and, beloved blog readers, please remind me never to get involved with someone who has his own "persona." seriously, what was i thinking?
so last night my roommate and i were on the roof smoking cigarettes (i don't even smoke cigarettes!) lamenting the state of romantical affairs, debating about whether or not we need to move to another city in order to be lucky in love. and she said to me that she felt that if only she were thinner, then her problems would be solved. "roommate!" i said, "you are plenty thin. you're a beautiful girl and don't let anyone tell you otherwise!"
and then i told her how i've become so svelte from the non-drinking and how this newfound svelteness has not helped me in ANY way. except of course that now when i am naked in front of the mirror i say things like, "damned! i'm svelte!" and i feel pretty good about myself. but ultimately, isn't it the human condition to want to share this svelteness with others? is that so wrong? is it too much to ask?
i believe i then said that i wanted to waste away and become a beautiful anorexic untouchable thing to be placed high on pedestals and loved from a distance. and then after that i said i wanted to move to some sort of jewish nunnery on a mountain top where i can finally have some peace and quiet. i'm kind of all over the place right now.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

free day!

when i worked at hell's library, if you had a day off during the week, as i do today, it was called a "free day." and in the notes section of your time sheet you would write the word "free" so that everyone understood the reason that you did not come into work. library-in-the-hood has very similar time sheet rules to hell's library, so when i started working here i would write "free" on my time sheet, thinking that these two libraries shared the same lingo. and then after a few months (because everyone is so passive aggressive that they don't like to say things to my face) mr. assistant manager man (remember him? he was so nice) told me that people don't like it when i write the word free on my time sheet. sends the wrong message he said.
well $%&@ that.
i'm free! FREE! FREE!and i have woken up ridiculously early to run errands and finish novels. first i am going to the post office to return the ugly laptop bag i ordered during some sort of insomniac hallucination. seriously, i thought i had ordered something completely different. is this some strange sort of sleep walking type thing in which you purchase items online whilst only half conscious? then i am going to the dmv to make my fancy mobile (thank you bitch cakes for this fantastic term for my car) officially my fancy mobile. then i will have coffee with my bff so that we may gossip about glam rockers and the general state of affairs. and then i will have several hours of quality laptop time so that i may work on my first submission for my novel class. due tomorrow. (i have 9 pages!) and then i will go to punk rope, the greatest fitness class ever.
have i mentioned that i have convinced my punk rope instructor to do a class with the kids at library in the hood? they are very excited, as am i. they will be getting free jump ropes and buttons and temporary tattoos! yay!
also, have i mentioned that i have lost FIVE pounds from my decreased alcohol intake? now i am thinking maybe i should make this a permanent thing, as opposed to just a january thing. because really, if i have to choose between being drunk or being extra svelte .... i think i'm going to have to go with extra svelte.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

3. Sick Leave

"salaried employees who are absent because of illness/injury while they are active members of the Library work force are eligible for paid sick days. sick days are provided to protect the employee from loss of salary when sick or disabled and therefore must only be used for personal illness. (you must be in payroll status at least 11 work days or 15 calendar days in any month in order to earn sick leave). an instance of a sick day is an absence of at least a half-day. employees are responsible for providing documentation for all sick days regardless of the length or nature of illness. documentation may be waived for absences of less than 4 consecutive work days.

"employees may carry over all unused sick days from one year to the next. there is no limit to the number of sick days an employee may accrue. upon separation from employment, sick balances are not paid to employees. employees with 10 years of more active service may convert up to half of their sick leave balance to terminal leave which is paid up to 120 days at separation of employment."

well, will you look at that? look who found their employee manual. as i have already proven my extreme incompetence, maybe you could look that paragraph over for me and tell me where it says that you can't have more than 3 undocumented sick days within a six month period. maybe you could also show me where it says that an employee on probation could be terminated for using too many earned sick days within their probation period. and lastly maybe you could show me why anyone would ever need to see my doctor's notes in the first place, since i have NEVER been out sick for four consecutive work days. i think i've only been out two consecutive work days at most. i think i will have to bring this to the attention of mr. higher up man when and if he ever schedules our follow-up meeting.

Monday, January 28, 2008

there's a mouse in my house: part deux

today i came home, again with the plans to work on my "novel." urgh, this thing is killing me. i have like four pages. why is this so slow going? is it because mars is in retrograde? i'm fighting it. i'm fighting the retrograde.
anyway i come home intending to have some quality time with my laptop when i see something scurry into the center of my living room. lo and behold there is the little gray mouse. now, i would like to take the time to point at that i once had not one but TWO pet mice (pinky and the brain, may you rest in peace and may god have mercy on your souls). but yet again i see the mouse in my house and i start screaming like a little girl. as soon as i start screaming the mouse runs behind the oven. i think that's where he has created one of those little mouse holes in the wall like you see in the tom and jerry cartoons. anyway, i decide to arm myself with a plastic pitcher in hopes that it would come back out and i could trap it under the pitcher (much like my sister's successful strategy of catching a mouse with a take-out soup container). but alas the mouse is gone, again. le sigh.
maybe i need to take ms. bitch cakes up on her offer of bringing her cat over here.

president's day: an early but necessary rant

c'mon people. is this the best we can do? these are the presidents that we will be celebrating on february 18th? ok, i like carter. we can keep him in. but the rest of these clowns? get serious.

i am not as full of myself as you might think ... ok, maybe i am

do you know that a glam rocker had the audacity to tell me that i have "an ego on me?!" the nerve. well, maybe he's right. anyway, just for fun i thought i would throw in the link to some of the other librarians with presidents pics. seriously ladies (i say ladies because the 5 male librarians in the world just wear shirts and ties), i love our profession but must we continue to perpetuate old stereotypes? ok, i am making a rule. i've been thinking about this for some time now. here goes: if you are not on a hiking trip, you should not be wearing fleece. there i said it.

Friday, January 25, 2008

warm and fuzzy and manager-free

yesterday we did our final segment of "i am somebody" with the kids. (program in which we convince the children that they can have a future) so i came up with this idea to do "warm fuzzies" where the children decorate paper bags with their names and the paper bag becomes their mailbox of sorts and everyone has to deliver warm fuzzies to all the other people in the room. a warm fuzzy is something nice (anything nice!) about a person. and i made a special rule that you absolutely have to think of something nice about every person in the room and it doesn't matter if you know the person or if you like the person, because there is something good about everyone and you must find that good thing.
then there was a collective groan from the children.
"but miss dewey decimal!" they cried, "there are like 12 kids here! we have to write 12 things?"
"yes!" i exclaimed like the tyrant i am. "you will do this!"
and lo and behold once they started this exercise they really enjoyed it. i am SO good. seriously. it's uncanny how awesome i am.
so when they were all done delivering their warm fuzzies to each other, they got to read what people had written to them and they were all chatting about what nice things other people said about them and everyone felt all warm and fuzzy.
my favorite kid called me over to show me one, "look," he said, "someone thinks i am artistic and creative!" and i said that he is artistic and creative (i had written that one).
anyway, here are a few of the things the kids wrote about me (please note that i have corrected all spelling and grammatical errors):
1. you are nice and sweet
2. you think of things for people to do in the library that are fun
3. i like your rockin' hairstyle, flair for fashion and your sensitivity (those black and fuscia socks the other day really paid off)
4. you are a good teacher and help people (i am not actually a teacher, but whatevs)
5. you are nice and you are always there to help when i needed your help
6. ms. dewey decimal likes to volunteer and give snacks to children. though i like her for her personality and her ability to speak her mind (this is by far my favorite one)
7. i love you (a little 5 year old wrote this one)
anyway, it was so nice to read these things from the kids and my fabulous assistant and i totally patted each other on the back for creating such an awesome program. but then of course there was the sadness that i have to leave these kids because of mean miss manager. who, thankfully, is not here today. yay!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

kitten puppet goodness

how cute is this? does this not look like a little tiger kitten?
when i was making these with the children they all decided to tell me stories of their cats, even though i am not typically a cat person. one kid told me that her cat pees on everything. and then, and maybe this is innapropriate to discuss with children, i decided to tell this child of my friend fifi and how her cat knows how to use the toilet. well! you would not believe the uproar of comments that came from that one.

laptopless ... well, except for my laptop

i just found out that i did not win the laptop that was being raffled off at work. even though my "library learning 2.0 blog" was way cooler than anyone else's. of course i am totally in love with miss mary mac and i do not really need another laptop. but it would have gotten me a pretty penny on ebay.
i wonder if this whole thing was rigged.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

there is a mouse in my house

please note that this is not actually the mouse that is in my house, nor is this my stove. this is a dramatization of the frightful tale you are about to read:
i come home with the intention of working on my "novel" right after i eat some dinner. so i am sitting on my couch scarfing down ziti my grandma sent home with me, and i hear a rustling. at first i did not know what the rustling was, but it appeared to be coming from a plastic bag that my roommate had left on top of our stove. it seemed like this was just random rustling, maybe from a breeze from our poorly insulated windows. whatevs. so i continue scarfing said ziti. but this rustling noise continues. everytime i look up to investigate it, it stops, but i am beginning to get suspicious. then suddenly, i see tail. mouse tail. poking out of the plastic bag. what do i decide to do? scream like a little girl. yup. screaming like a little girl was the most useful thing i could think of to do with myself at that moment.
after screaming like a little girl i decided to devise a plan. this plan would include me quickly picking up the plastic bag with the mouse inside. then i would put this plastic bag into a larger plastic bag, you know, just for good measure. and then i would take the plastic bag and throw it in the garbage outside. so i do this, making girly yelping noises the entire time. but i make it to the garbage and i begin to feel rather proud that i handled the situation so well.
i return to the couch and for a few moments i think everything is ok. and that is when i see it. the little gray mouse is now sitting right on top of my stove. and of course this time there is no plastic bag or anything to use to pick it up without having to touch it. so what do i do? i grab my phone so i can take a picture. yet another effective and useful decision whilst enduring a crisis. but sadly the mouse was too quick for me so i was unable to get a picture.
and then the mouse did the most god awful thing ever. he jumped into the hole where the burner is, peeked his head out for one split second, you know just to taunt me, and then he disappeared. DISAPPEARED!
at this point, i had to call in some back up. so i txted my roommate to see if she had any ideas of what to do. we decided it would be best to turn on the stove and see if we could "smoke" the mouse out. so i turned on all four burners at once and had the flames on high in hopes that the mouse would get so hot that he would have to run out. but alas this did not happen.
finally, i came up with a very primitive mouse trap ... i have placed half a piece of bread on the stove, and the other half in a plastic bag nearby. i am hoping the mouse will come out of the stove and into the plastic bag. but i've been sitting here about 2 hours now and there has been no sign of the mouse.
i don't know if i can live here anymore. i may need a new apartment. seriously, if there is a mouse in the stove, what other things are lurking here. it's probably best not to ask.

a traitor in williamsburg

oh ... this isn't the williamsburg i was thinking of. silly me. although, i bet cloaks will come back any day now. better get your authentic cloak now or else you'll be stuck buying a "fake" one at brooklyn industries. but i digress.
today i had a class visit with 20 5 year olds. i read them:
this little chick
go away big green monster (with fun puppet action! always a fav!)
there was an old lady who swallowed a fly
kitten's first full moon
then we made kitten puppets out of construction paper and popsicle sticks. but alas, no googley eyes because this is now a googley-eye-free zone. le sigh, i wish i had more googley eyes. and now we are dangerously low on construction paper and glue sticks.
after my class visit i was informed that i missed a children's librarian meeting. but get this ... i'm not in trouble. my manager is annoyed at THEM for not telling us of the meeting. ha! i wouldn't go so far as to say she was nice about it. but she isn't mad at me. so that's a good thing. maybe she is trying to loathe me less.
later i will post a pic of the kitten puppet. i made mine to look like a tiger kitten. if only i knew how to blog from my phone.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

baby, it's cold inside

ok, i think this whole being very cold thing is officially getting old. and what would happen if i get sick from being so cold? my god the vicious cycle never ends. anyway, i decided to try to keep warm by walking around carryling lots of books. it is only half working. but i have created a very cool books into movies display in hopes of enticing the children to read. its pretty damned cool and includes great books such as: the lion the witch and the wardrobe, wizard of oz, babe the gallant pig, peter pan, series of unfortunate events, ella enchanted, alice in wonderland, charlotte's web, charlie and the chocolate factory, etc etc and of course my fav ... harry potter.
let's see if anyone picks up a book because of this.

it's a beautiful day in the hood ... won't you be mine?

i have to admit, i was not looking forward to coming in today, knowing that i would be coming back to a toxic work environment and all. but this morning i woke up surprisingly chipper and while getting dressed i decided that if people are going to hate me for just being me, i should really try to be as ME as possible. so i decided that i need to invoke my inner punk rock librarian. so i put on my knee high Sock it To Me socks with the black and fuschia stripes (shown at left, although i am not actually wearing roller skates. but if you would like to picture me skating around the library putting away books, possibly while whistling to myself, that's perfectly acceptable). so i have the knee highs, my dark denim banana republic skirt (this is actually an illegal dress code item, but i feel that since it is dark denim and it was pricey, its ok) and i am wearing a fitted black 3/4 length tee and my tall black boots with the buckles on the side. and my piece de resistance: my beat-up black studded belt that i bought in london back in '99. it's a pretty hot outfit if i do say so myself.
then i got my tea from my favorite bodega run by the kurds, and i got into my car and set my ipod to random. now this is always a risk as there are some rather varied things on my ipod. often i get chapters of audiobooks in between songs. but still, i felt it was a random ipod day so i went with it. and let me tell you blog readers it was totally worth it. let me tell you the awesome random playlist that my ipod created:
1. we can work it out by the beatles
2. you don't own me covered by rasputina (great band with two chicks who rock out on cellos)
3. magic by olivia newton john
4. like a virgin by madonna (i tried to sing along to this and although it sounded awesome in my head i'm pretty sure my never ending larygitis was holding me back from greatness)
5. jane says by jane's addiction
6. vaccuum boots by brain jonestown massacre
and then when i rolled into the hood a stone roses song came on and i parked my car happily, knowing that i quite possibly had just listened to the greatest mix my ipod has ever made.
but wait! my morning gets better! better you say? how is that possible?
so i came into the break room to hang up my coat and there was my only friend sitting on the phone chatting with her mother. she talks on the phone alot but i love her so i don't care. anyway, she was wearing this leather vest that was quite stylish and becoming and i think it is very important to support others when they are taking a risk outside their fashion comfort zone. so i said, "friend, that is a great vest you are wearing."
then her face lit up and she said, "really you like it?"
now it is important to remember i am conversing with a woman in her fifties who is often talking about being blessed by god. "yeah," i tell her, "it's really cool."
"oh thanks you know its part of a set that my husband got me. you know its all leather and i wear it when i gets out the whip when we're alone together. you know." and then she started miming whipping her husband while laughing hysterically.
"friend," i said sincerely, "you have made my morning."
but wait! there's more!
then i was called away to a phone call from my manager saying that she will not be coming in because her car died.
yes! greatest morning ever! so now i am here in charge of the branch and everyone is in a happy mood even though there is no heat. we are in something called "cold time" where we make overtime for being freezing. 54 degrees and loving every minute of it.

Monday, January 21, 2008

is she oppressed? or is she a mess? does she feel totally worthless?

so i was telling a glam rocker about this blog (what? you don't think librarians get to hob knob with glam rockers? get with the program) anyway, this glam rocker wanted to make sure he got the name of my blog correct so he asked, "it's oppressed librarian, right?"
i like that ... oppressed librarian. i am feeling a little oppressed right now. i am a free thinking librarian trapped in a fascist bureaucracy. but i will prevail! i will not be a cog in your machine! shine on you crazy librarian! ok, enough of that.
moving on ... i have applied for jobs at a variety of fabulous shiny new places and i am sure one of them will be thrilled to have me.
this glam rocker also said that there is a way to blog from your phone. well, what will they think of next? i really should be blogging from my phone. here i've just been using my phone for txting, phone calls, and taking stupid pictures like a sucker. but i tried to do this blogging via phone thing and it does not seem to be working. i don't know if it's me or the phone. let's blame the phone.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

wine, sun chips, and my new favorite series book

i am in fairly good spirits for a woman on the brink of extinction. although last night i had a bit of a relapse into bad behavior and i drank a few glasses of wine (even though i am not supposed to be drinking this month!) and a large bag of sun chips which i dipped into that preservative-filled gelatinous onion dip that they sell in bodegas that is so full of chemicals it doesn't even need to be refrigerated. yeah, i ate an entire tub of that stuff. but it needed to be done! i did all this while watching the first disc of season 3 of 90210 (donna and brenda are in paris!). anyhoo, it needed to be done. i feel better now. i will not eat anything with hydrogenated oils for a while. let's move on.
here i am back at the library on a saturday morning. a 6th grade girl came in to tell me she lost her card. when i looked her up it turns out she owed $70 in late fees. $70! turns out she took out 2 dvds in december and never returned them, so we are now charging her the full cost of the dvds (plus a processing fee). she tells me she doesn't remember taking out the dvds. so i tell her to go home and look for them because if she finds them and returns them then she will only have to pay late fees, which will be WAY cheaper than paying for the cost of the movies.

i would like to take this opportunity to tell you that this girl used to have a serious attitude problem. i have kicked her out of the library in the past. but then one day she came to a craft program and we discussed the story of hanukkah and we made paper dreidels and i gave out chocolate gelt and now she has turned nice. you see that! you see the power of hanukkah and crafts! anyway, back to my original story.

she leaves and comes back about 15 minutes later with both dvds. turns out her sister "borrowed" her card and took out the dvds. never bothering to tell her or return them to the library. sadly, i see this all the time. its worst when the parents do it to their kids because they've messed up their own card and then move on to mess up their kids' cards. nice!

anyway, now i have her reading down her fines so that she can just read in the library instead of pay money. i asked her "do you know what 'rounding up' means?" she said yes and i explained that i would do a considerable amount of rounding up so that she could get extra credit for her reading time, since it isn't her fault.

i tell her to go get a book and she immediately walks over to the picture books even though she is in 6th grade. urgh, i am so sick of these kids reading below their grade level. so i take her over to the fiction section thinking i will try to sell her on the Sisters Grimm series which is about two sisters who fight fairy tale crimes with their feisty grandmother in upstate ny. i LOVE these books and i can never get anyone to read them. so i ask her, "what types of books do you like to read?" and do you know what she said? do you? can you guess? she said "fairy tales." well, i was so excited. i explained the whole thing to her and now she is sitting reading the sisters grimm.

but these things are not important. why? who cares that i got an inner city girl with low reading scores who used to have a bad attitude but is now a productive polite child to read an age appropriate book?! the real problem is that two weeks ago i missed a day of work due to laryngitis. that's the real crime here.

Friday, January 18, 2008

goodbye crackhead

beloved blog readers, i know it is hard to believe, but i am not perfect. this morning although i left on time i did not leave early enough. so when i hit bumper to bumper traffic due to an accident on the grand central i was 10 minutes late to my meeting with mr. higher up. i called to alert him of my impending lateness, as i feel that is the professional thing to do, but i think it was the nail in my library-in-da-hood coffin.
anyway, i pleaded my case like a trooper. i explained my situation in a highly professional manner, hitting on three main points.
1. there are severe philosophical differences between me and the manager (please read: the manager is mean and i am not)
2. i get sick and then use sick time. is this actually against library policy?
3. it has come to my attention that the manager criticizes my job performance to other employees, but does not discuss these issues with me. (please read: the manager talks shit behind my back)
anyway, here is what went down:
mr. higher up said that he was there to listen to what i had to say. but at the same time i should know that most likely no immediate action would be taken as he would need to speak to others, and that i should be warned that most likely i would not get any instant satisfaction from the meeting. fine.
on point1 he said that although he and i share the same philosophy (
ie non-meanness) if the manager wants to be mean to people she can because she is the manager.
on point 2 he said that i can be penalized for using sick time even if it is documented, if said sick time use gets in the way of branch functions. he said he would look into this matter and report back to me.
on point 3 he was very concerned about the trash-talking and agreed that it is unacceptable and he will be looking into it.
he also said that he has been told by the manager that i am chronically late (untrue!) and that i am unreliable due to illness. he said it didn't help that i was late to my own meeting. (damned it! why didn't i leave even earlier?)
then he said that the branch librarian "isn't going anywhere." so there go my dreams of me staying at library in the hood and her packing her bags. he also said that i cannot transfer until
june, when my one-year probation is up.
so what does this mean?
i think i am not a good fit for the library-
bureaucracies. in the end i always think, "but i do a such a good job!" and sadly the Bureaucracy sees things differently. a highly devoted youth services librarian is not of value to them if she has a sinus problem and is too self-confident to sell herself short.
so today as i was walking up to the branch thinking of where i will be sending my resumes to, i ran into our local crackhead. we really only have one crackhead here and she's very nice. sometimes she comes in with white lips and takes a nap at our tables, but usually she's pretty alert. i said hi, and she said "hey baby!" and i walked into the library thinking, "i will miss that crackhead."

Thursday, January 17, 2008

the big day, a pencil borrowed, and being the manager is hard damned work

so tomorrow is my big meeting. i wrote up an outline so that i can try to remember my key phrases. i am very very curious to see how this goes.
anyway, after the paper fiasco it was business as usual. my assistant came in, oh how i love her, and we did a program that we started called "i am somebody." this is an ongoing program in which we try to convince the children that they can be somebody. i say convince because we really are convincing them. anyway, today's "i am somebody" was a two parter. first we discussed how no one is perfect and everyone has faults. so me and my assistant told the kids what some of our faults are. my assistant said sometimes she is impatient and argumentative (although i would never say this about her cause i love her). then i said that sometimes i am lazy and don't work hard enough to accomplish my goals. then we had the kids anonymously write down one thing about themselves that they don't like (i totally stole this from an awesome diva burlesque dancer) and we put them in a paper bag and then i pulled them out one by one and we all discussed them. the kids did a really good job. they said stuff like "acting up," or "playing around too much" or "not thinking quickly enough" etc. and we discussed all these things. it was really good. then we did the opposite where we filled out these sheets where is says "i am a _ _ _ _ _ _ person" and they had to think of all 6 of their best qualities. and then draw a picture of themselves in the middle. i think a good time was had by all and it was really productive. i WILL keep these kids out of jail!
then at the end of the day i asked my favorite kid what he was thanking me for in his thank you note and he said he was thanking me for loaning him a pencil the other day. he's so sweet.

p.s. my assistant told me that while i was away at the conference she needed her activity reports signed and since i was not there to sign them she asked the manager to sign. she said that the manager rolled her eyes and complained that she hated having to do this type of thing (this type of thing being sign her name 5 times). then she signed the reports without even reading them. she really is the hardest working manager in showbiz.

the papers, the papers

did you know that you cannot get newspapers delivered to the hood? neither did i. but apparently we cannot get newspapers delivered to the library the way that other places can, so every week one lucky employee is in charge of the papers. also, these papers are not typically for sale anywhere in the neighborhood. for instance, you cannot get a new york times here in the hood. so it is the common practice that when you are in charge of the papers that you buy them in your own neighborhood each morning before you leave. you are allotted 10 extra minutes for this. this does not bode well for me since i am not good at remembering library duties before i get to the library. out of sight, out of mind i guess.
so the first time i was in charge of the papers i would say that i had about a 60% success rate of remembering to get the papers before i came to the library. this was not good. i had also been assigned this duty without being told (although it was written on a calendar that is no where near anything that i do), so the first day i was not only paperless but also clueless.
this week began my second week ever of being in charge of the papers. and i am SO determined to do a good job because i don't want anyone to have any ammunition against me. so tuesday i came in proudly holding all my ALA conference schwag and a bag of newspapers. turns out the head clerk had also bought the newspapers. this was perplexing. "oh," i said surprised, "i thought i was supposed to get the papers this week."
"oh yeah," she said flatly, "we weren't sure if you were really going to get them."
nice! thanks for the vote o' confidence.
so today i went to my favoritest bodega. the one run by the kurdish couple. i love them so. anyway i got my large cup of tea and the papers, but i noticed they did not have newsday. when i asked mr. kurdish man where the newsday was he said they no longer carried newsday. the shame of it all! anyway, then i had to double back to my second favorite bodega and get newsday (i would have gone there to begin with but they don't have tea. what gives?! you'll never be my favorite bodega at this rate!) so then i had to go back to where the first bodega was because that is where my car was parked. this was a huge waste of time. so inefficient.
so i arrived 10 minutes later than the allotted 10 minute late window period for paper getting.
ms. manager was not pleased. i belive she asked "what happend this morning?"
then i explained about the lack of newsdays (should i have offered to pick up one of the many polish papers in the neighborhood?) and how i wanted to make sure i got all the papers because i had been given money ahead of time and didn't want to show up missing a paper.
she then said that if this happens again i should just come without it. i should not have been late in order to do my job properly. i am sure the library was in a terrible mess those extra ten minutes without me.
so i ask you ... can i ever win? if i didn't have newsday i can imagine the whispering about the lack of newsday. but when i go out of my way to make sure i have newsday, i am criticized for taking too long. urgh.
but when i came over to my desk i found a little handmade thank you note from my favorite kid. what is he thanking me for? i have no idea. the note merely said "thank you. from FK"

Monday, January 14, 2008

this one's for fifi

sometimes you've got to love a magnificent waste of time. like this for instance. i spent about 20 minutes on this. if you can't recognize it, this is what it would look like if a My Little Pony was ever created in my likeness. doesn't she look like me? if only she had a little pile of books next to her. i know you are jealous and are dying to know where you too can make ponies.

go directly to jail. do not pass the library. do not collect $200.

library conference - day 3
woke up early to my complimentary breakfast which was way way better than my mediocre breakfast. then i was off to the exhibit hall to network and look for schwag. it turns out that they don't have as many recruiters at the midwinter conference as they do at the annual conference. they also don't have as much schwag. oh well.
anyway, i met up with my new friend who is the librarian for incarcerated teens, and she and i went around the exhibits together. then we had lunch and she was trying to recruit me to work with her. you might be thinking, "oh no miss dewey decimal, don't work with incarcerated teens! they will rape you!" good point. it is a fear. BUT i will be allowed to wear jeans AND i will have the summer off. JEANS! and this girl has worked there for a while, rape-free.
you would think that the prospect of working in a jail would be sad and depressing, but there is something very appealing about it to me. for the first time ever i feel like i am really
doing something. i feel like i am really helping children and helping the community. other places i have worked i always did a good job. i always enjoyed my work. i probably enjoyed my work more at other places. but what did my work mean? when i worked out in long island i certainly did an amazing job and provided a great environment for teens and provided a community center and all that jazz. but did they need it? would their lives have suffered without it? probably not.
here is an interesting fact ... so this woman works in jails in 4 of the 5 boroughs. and when i told her the location of my branch, she said that the majority of kids in the detention facility in my borough all come from the neighborhood where my branch is. so the kids i work with right now are in danger of becoming the incarcerated teens that this woman works with. i am the last stop before jail. what does that mean?
1. i have to save these kids from becoming criminals because it is a VERY likely future for them.
2. working with incarcerated teens is not much different from working with the kids i currently work with. they will just be a few years older, and will have committed the crime they are thinking of committing now, but haven't yet.
life just gets curiouser and curiouser.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

sleepy and full of cheese

library conference - day 2
woke up early this morning to a luke warm shower and a mediocre breakfast. i almost was going to complain about the mediocre-ness of my breakfast but then i wussed out. but lo and behold a hotel official serendipitously called me to ask me about the quality of my breakfast and when i expressed to her my dissatisfaction she offered me a complimentary breakfast tomorrow morning. woohoo!
then i was off to sign in because they wouldn't let me sign in last night without the proper registration. it seems a driver's license is not sufficient proof of my identity. anyway, at registration they had another guitar hero iii set up! this is totally the guitar hero conference. love it love it love it.
once registered i went to the YALSA (i hope you're learning your acronyms) all committee meeting. i met my other committee members who are very nice, did some schmoozing with my gals from hell's library, etc etc. and then who should walk over to my table but NB, the man from my library who is my manager's boss and who will be meeting with me next week to discuss my difficulties. so he and i chatted and he asked me about the committee i serve on (point one - me) i wound up introducing him to one of my committee members who works with incarcerated youth and was interested in making contacts with someone from my library. so i hooked that up and NB thanked me and yet again i show myself to be oh so valuable (point two - me)
turns out this woman from my committee grew up on long island and knows alot of the hell's library people i know so after all our meetings were over she and i met up with a few of her friends and we all went out and had fondue. mmmmm, fondue.
yet another glorious day in the city of librarian love. now i am tired and need to watch mindless television. tomorrow i will hit up the exhibits and try to get as much schwag as possible. then i will go to the employment area and give out many copies of my resume. just in case NB can't come through for me. but i hope he can.

Friday, January 11, 2008

and another thing ...

did i mention that my hotel room comes with a complimentary CD of soothing music and guided relaxation to help me sleep? i love hotels. maybe i'll order room service for breakfast.

i think wii have a problem

library conference - day 1
went to a cocktail party and schmoozed. met a woman from VOYA (voice of youth advocates) magazine and told her how much i love VOYA and how much i miss my VOYA subscription because it's so expensive and my library doesn't subscribe. she immediately asked me to become a reviewer. sweet.
then i ran into both the past and present directors of youth services for nassau county. schmoozed them up and wound up taking a member of their group to the YALSA Gaming Extravaganza. who doesn't love an extravaganza?! i ask you.
then at the extravaganza i met up with some of my old pals from hell's library. i love them gals. then i played mario cart double dash, guitar hero III, wii bowling, wii tennis, and dance dance revolution. hopefully the gals and i will meet up tomorrow night as well.
so it has been a very productive first day. and i feel so popular running into all these people. yay library conferences! the only problem is that i feel really sore. at first i thought it was from the combination of boxing AND doing boot camp last night (i had to punch some stuff yesterday. you understand). but now i realize the soreness is only in my right shoulder and the right side of my back. i played wii right-handed. i have sustained a wii injury. ouch. i need to go stretch a little. but damned, was that wii fun. tennis is my favorite.

employee retention

i have been told that the library system which currently employees me has difficulty retaining good employees. hmmm, wonder why that could be? i am going to throw this one out there ... it probably isn't a good idea to tell young industrious hard-workers that they most likely will be fired. also it probably isn't a good idea to make such statements to said young industrious hard-workers the day before they are to go to a national library conference where they can strut their stuff and be offered better jobs.
so here i am in philly. i have just checked into my lovely hotel and lo and behold ... there is free internet access! free internet! free internet! i love it, i love it!
so things are good ... i received an email from a higher up regarding "the situation" and he wants to meet next week. i have a schmoozing event to go to tonight, then afterwards i have a videogame extravaganza event to go to so that i may learn about what the "kids" are into these days. then tomorrow i will meet with the members of the YALSA (young adult library services association) committee i am on and i will schmooze further.
the world is my oyster. it's all a matter of who will make me the best offer.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

that's fine by me

i spent the morning printing out maps of philly and itineraries for my library conference this weekend. turns out i will need to do more networking than i thought. tonight after boot camp i will print up copies of my resume. thank goodness that new staples just opened up across from my apartment.
miss dewey decimal?! my god! what's happened?!

manager: could i see you for a moment please
me: sure (bow my head in anticipation for whatever is coming, as i walk into her office and she shuts the door behind me)
manager: we had spoken to you about your leave time usage, and now i am giving you an official oral warning
(she goes on about how i called in sick twice and left early once because i poked my eye out)
me: but you said that if i got a doctor's note i couldn't be penalized
manager: yeah, it seems like i spoke out of turn. they are really cracking down.
me: i think your exact words were that if i had a doctor's note they "couldn't touch me."
manager: yes well i said it turns out i was speaking out of turn. they are really cracking down on sick time usage
me: well, i can't help it if i am sick. i had laryngitis. i could barely speak.
this goes back and forth for a while and she discusses that how since we are a small branch the librarians must be reliable because if there is no librarian they cannot open the branch.
me: well, i understand that but at the same time i feel it is unfair for the burden of whether or not this branch opens to be on my shoulders. i don't feel i should have to be a martyr, coming in when i am ill.
then my manager tells me how its "them" not her, and how this is how it is and that They have fired four librarians for sick time usage.
me: that's very sad because i am an asset to this library system. i do good work here.
manager: well your future here is in jeopardy if you cannot improve your leave usage.
me: well, it's not in my hands to improve. my getting sick is not something i can change. (although i did buy some hand sanitizer. maybe that will help?)
manager: i understand that but this is what they are looking at and like i said, they've fired four librarians for just this reason
me: well luckily i have gotten myself back on the civil service list for nassau county. so i guess i'll just start looking for another job. (read: don't you dare try and intimidate me!) it's a shame though because i really enjoy working with these kids and i feel i am helping them alot.
more back and forth BS.
manager: you need to improve this before your next evaluation in May or you could be fired.
me: like i said, i understand what you are saying. but this is not something i can change. i took this job with the understanding that i got a certain amount of sick time. i never would have taken it if i had known i'd be penalized for using the sick time i am offered. i understand that you are giving me an official warning. fine. if they have to fire me then that's what they'll have to do. i can't change the fact that i get sick. i'll start my job search now.
manager: well if this doesn't improve then you most likely will be fired in May.
me: that's fine by me (and i walk out of her office like the tough as nails rockstar that i am)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

it's 1 pm ... do you know where your abused child is?

yes, it is 1 pm and i am leaving for lunch. where is your special needs child who suffers from hearing loss, has a serious speech impediment and cannot communicate in or comprehend any spoken language, and who mysteriously has a black eye? where is he? he's hanging out at the laundromat waiting for it to be "time" to be allowed into the library. you see, it's actually illegal for us to allow unaccompanied children in here until 2:30. because children are supposed to be at school. so he's hanging around outside of the laudromat with the drug dealers. nice.

an e-mail sent and a call to be made

1. i sent an email to a big wig higher up saying that i need to discuss my current work environment. i made sure to note what fantastic progress i have made with the children. and how ironic it is that what makes the environment "intolerable" is not the children or the neighborhood but one of my co-workers. i wonder which one i'm referring to!
anyway, i haven't heard back yet and i am getting a little nervous. i hope it is ok and that this doesn't "blacklist" me. at hell's library people were blacklisted for speaking up.

2. there is this kid, T, who comes in here. i am not sure what is wrong with him. if i would guess he has at least a few of the following ailments: lead poisoning, autism, a speech impediment, mental retardation, and/or hearing loss. he is about 9 years old and i would say he has the functionality of a 4 or 5 year old. he can barely understand me when i speak to him and he can only communicate in very garbled short words. he does not go to school, he does not know how to read or write, he cannot tell you his last name or his age, and he is left here unsupervised almost every day. oh, and he also hits other children. one time i had to physically get in between him and another child that he had started punching. so he is VERY difficult to deal with and although i want to help him i am often very frustrated by him. i probably kick him out of the library for misbehaving at least once a week. anyway, my point! yesterday he came in with a black eye. a real nasty one too. when asked by a staff member what happened he said his mother hit him. or at least that's what it sounded like. so today, when this staff member comes in i will be explaining the process of calling the child abuse registry.

ah another day in library in the hood. but you know how it is ... i don't do anything and i am incompetant and i let the kids run wild and do whatever they want.

Monday, January 7, 2008

the gestapo is here OR that's it, i've had it

let me get this off my chest .... GRRRRRRRR!
okay. if i was feeling up to it i would go to the gym and hit the punching bag a little, but its 11 pm. instead i'll just vent to you, my beloved blog readers.
today i was introduced to our newest library employee. she is what is called a community library liason. i have no idea what this means. but from what i hear she is supposed to be a "security" type person who roams around and keeps everyone in line. this of course leaves me very apprehensive.
i was sitting in on a program my assistant started called dream chasers club. the children were sitting around the table telling us what their dreams are and what they think they need to do to make their dreams come true. (god, don't you just hate that?! i can totally see why my manager wishes all these kids would stop coming into the library.) anyway, the CLL walks through as i am discussing several different books that the dream chasers might want to read for the book club portion of the club. (again ... these children are AWFUL). in the end they voted for a book about a young slave girl who runs away after her master sells her to another family. (yet again, i cannot emphasize enough how terrible these children are...wanting to read books about slavery. and in their free time no less!)
soon after this, i hear a commotion out in the library. it is the CLL. she is harassing one of my kids. i walk over and ask if there is a problem because the kid she is harassing is typically a good kid.
CLL: are you supposed to be over here?
kid: huh?
me: is there a problem?
CLL: i'm just trying to figure out what he's doing here.
kid: huh?
me: was he doing something wrong?
CLL: well, i just don't know if he's supposed to be here
me: where else would he be? he's not doing anything wrong
CLL: he and this other one were running back and forth
(i saw no evidence of running)
me: (addressing the child in a half-assed fashion) there's no running
kid: ok
CLL: the manager said the older kids aren't allowed over here in the children's room.
me: yeah ... but he's a child. so he can be here in the children's room.
CLL: ok, (turns to kid) but you better watch it boy.
after several interactions like this i realize that this woman is in fact a complete nazi and will most likely cart the children off to work camps when i leave to go to the bathroom.
i approach my beloved assistant and tell her that we have a serious problem. she takes one look at this woman patrolling the children's room and tells me to let her handle it.
well ... okay then.
a little while later my assistant comes up to me.
AA: i set her straight
me: really? (she is a truly amazing assistant) how?
AA: turns out the manager told her that you let the kids do whatever they want
me: what?! (insert a whole bunch of curse words that should not be uttered by a children's librarian)
AA: yeah, but i set her straight
me: i can't believe ...
AA: i know
me: that is such (again insert the worst expletives you can think of)
so then the CLL came up to me and said that she would "leave me to it" and walked out of the children's room. my activities assistant is so extremely effective. then later i had a little chat with the CLL explaining the manager's hatred for children. and that while i do try to be nice to the children, i do enforce rules and use disciplinary measures when needed. and then, dear blog readers, i think the CLL became my friend, instantly recognizing me as a person with an actual heart.
but oh am i so very very very pissed off right now! this is it! it has gone too far! i will not stand by and allow my manager to belittle me to my subordinates and undermine all the hard work i do! how dare she?!
oh ... it's on. and i'm going straight to the top.

martin luther king day display

isn't it lovely? there are picture books and graphic novels and biographies and books on the civil rights movement. i even threw in some books about corretta scott king. just cuz.

there's something fishy going on here

my manager just got back from her vacation today. (did i mention that the head clerk came in an hour and a half late? i wonder if that will be reflected in her timesheet) anyway, i asked said manager if i could have two saturdays off. now, when i say i want a saturday off that means that i will just work another saturday. its not like you get out of working a saturday. i need one saturday off in march because it is my cousin's wedding. and i need a saturday off in april so that i may celebrate passover. (passover is my FAVORITE jewish holiday)
manager: march 22? that's easter, isn't it?
me: i don't know. (seriously, who are you asking?)
manager: i take my vacation on easter
me: hmmm
and sure enough we looked at the calendar and she is marked to have a vacation after easter. and of course me jewish cousin has decided to get married easter weekend knowing that none of us have anything better to do.
now, i believe in vacations. take them often! but i have noticed that there is a propensity for the manager to take "prime" vacation times. for instance ... the week after new year's day. now, this wouldn't be a big deal except for the fact that any time she is on vacation it means that i HAVE to be in the library, since there are only two librarians. so, every time that she takes a vacation right after a holiday it means that no one else can have that day off. and she seems to be doing this for every holiday. every year.
so she says she will "look into" whether or not the central office can send someone else on this day. now i will tell you right now: i am NOT missing my cousin's wedding so that i can sit at library-in-da-hood. i WILL NOT. that is BS. i will call in sick or not show up before i miss a state occasion. i may even wear pearls. i am TRYING to be nice by giving them more than two months notice that i will not be here that day. i would like to "legally" have that day off. but if push comes to shove i'm sure that i can get a doctor's note from one of the many jewish doctors that will be at said wedding. i'll just ask one of them to bring their presciption pads. let's see ... there's linda, there's robert, there's peter ....

Saturday, January 5, 2008

take your nubian god to work day

this morning the prodigal nubian came to work with me. it was so nice to show off the good work i do here. then we went to lunch at the vegetarian spiritualist luncheonette. at first he was leary but he totally warmed up to it. and now, alas, he has returned from whence he came. le sigh. and now i am left here with the rest of my work day. grrrr.
but so far i have organized the non-fiction and led a storytime (two attendees! woohoo!) maybe i will work on my martin luther king day display.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

i should be a little hispanic kid's mom

yesterday ...
my favorite kid: hey, what happened to your voice?
me: i have laryngitis
mfk: you're sick?
me: yeah
mfk: are you going to go to the doctor?
me: probably not. i'll just rest.
mfk: when my mom gets sick, i take care of her. i make her tea and make sure she has blankets to keep her warm. and if she has a fever ... i'll put a cold paper towel on her forehead.
me: that's nice. you're a good kid.
mfk: if you were my mom, i would take such good care of you when you're sick.
me: (trying not to look teary eyed) that's so sweet. thank you.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

i get laryngitis and decide to expatriate

seriously, this may be turning into the files of an unorganized and chronically ill librarian. so after my new year's eve eve party and the regular new year's eve festivities i find myself without a voice. so last night after work i went straight to my couch and watched dvds of degrassi junior high. i ate soup and remembered to put my eyedrops in and i did some work on the mittens i'm knitting. when did i turn into a 70 year old woman?
after degrassi was done i decided to watch sicko by michael moore. its probably not a good movie to watch when you are actually sick because it kind of makes you feel more ill and gets you wondering about what other health problems might be in store for you in the near future. although i do recommend viewing it if you're well. i actually was crying at the end because i was so sad at the way we treat other human beings in this country. anyway, there was this part where he visits his friends in france and the say that they are allowed to stay home from work guilt free when they are sick. because, they explain, "when you're sick, you're sick."
so i called in today because i can barely speak and i am coughing and yesterday i felt so awful by the end of the day. (i also wound up yelling at a trouble maker kid and it really hurt my throat) i don't care if my manager and her buddy are going to insult me to the other employees. i am sick. and when you're sick you're sick. but i am thinking i might want to move my ill self to france. except i don't speak french. i just know this one phrase:
je suis allergique aux noix.

you can try to set me up for failure but it won't work ... i'm just too good

there is this thing that we have to do every day which we cleverly call "doing the money." we have two self-check out machines that people use not only to check out books but also to access their accounts and pay fines. everyday all the bills are taken out of the machines and new change is put back in. then there is a software that is only on the manager's computer and the amounts of money put in and taken out need to be recorded. it is not a terribly difficult thing to do, but there are many steps to remember. its the kind of thing you need to be shown several times and do it several times on your own before you get the hang of it.
so back in my favoritest branch, they had shown me how to do the money several days in a row. of course, i am not supposed to mention the other branch because it upsets my manager. anyway, since library-in-da-hood reopened it has been known that there would be times that i would need to do the money, as i am third in command. we reopened in september. they have had 4 months to teach me how to do the money. have they taught me? no. because they dislike me and i imagine spending 20 minutes a day with me for three days in a row seems just awful to them. when the aclm was here (he was SO nice) he taught me how to do it once. but that was over a month ago and as i said you really have to do it a few times in a row to get the hang of it.
so this saturday was the first time i was supposed to do the money. last week the head clerk was supposed to show me how, but she came into work 20 minutes late and didn't speak to me. this was after our rousing staff meeting about punctuality and the importance of neat chairs. anyway, then my manager was supposed to show me. but instead of actually doing the money and showing me what i needed to learn she just showed me a bunch of stuff on the computer that really had little bearing on what i actually need to learn.
then friday comes, the day before i need to know how to do this, and i of course develop a sore throat. so i stay home. (but i got a dr. note!) when i arrive one-eyed on saturday i do the money all by myself without any real training. how? because i am a smart cookie, that's how.
but then i hear from my lovely assistant that the manager was bad mouthing me for calling in sick and complaining that i, being an incompetant idiot, will never ever be able to do the money properly and i am so horrible. of course my assistant just sat there shocked, unable to believe the manager was openly insulting me.
the manager had four months, FOUR MONTHS, to teach me how to do this. i call in sick on her last opportunity to teach me and she's mad at me? i once read a sign in a body shop that said "your poor planning does not constitute an emergency to me." so true.
so then today i had to do the money again. which i did. because i am a highly competant go-getter. and then my new co-worker friend told me that she too overheard the manager complaining about me and about how i will never be able to perform my job properly. as if it is my fault that she and her little head clerk buddy never got around to teaching me. i guess the two of them were too busy gossiping about empolyees and yelling unneccessarily at patrons.
this place is so ridiculous and petty. but i totally heart the kids now. so i will stay a while.

what a year for a new year

i joke a lot and i mask my troubles with amusing anecdotes and sarcastic comments. but i will tell you honestly that 2007 was not one of my best years. 2006 kind of sucked as well, but it got better towards the end and i thought 2007 would be a whole lot better than it was. but i look to 2008 with new found hopefulness. and even though i typically save my new year's resolutions for yom kippur, i have made some new year's resolutions. here they are (in no particular order):

  1. i will not drink any alcohol for the entire month of january. except for when i am at the library conference in 2 weeks. i give myself permission to have a few cocktails so that i can network and schmooze.
  2. i will write a novel. i have not set a date for its completion, but i will have a substatial novel that i will be working on.
  3. i will perform burlesque in public.
  4. i will continue going to the gym regularly and aim for 2.5 times a week ( i have lost 4 pounds this holiday season! it's good to be a jew. especially a jew with a bahaman stomach virus)
  5. i will not go after "players" anymore. mr. katz brought this habitual problem of mine to my attention last night and i thank him for it.

i leave you all with the lyrics of what is now one of my favorite holiday songs ...

what a year for a new year
by dan wilson

What a year for a new year
We need it like we needed life I guess
Last one left us lying in a mess
What a year for a new year

What a night for a sunrise
And we thought the dark would never end
Reaching out to try to find a friend
What a night for a sunrise

What a day for new day
And our star shines like a miracle
And our world is almost beautiful again

What a day for a new day
What a year for a new year

we’ll be lying in our beds
And new dreams will fill our heads
And the old ones will be ended

we’ll forget about this place
Let it go without a trace
Wipe the teardrops from our faces
Oh! What a year for a new year!