Friday, May 30, 2008

birthday eve

so wednesday the kids threw me probably what was one of the nicest birthday parties ever. they all made me cards out of construction paper, decorated with feathers and flower decals. and inside the cards they wrote stuff about how helpful and nice i am, and how i "rock with a capital R." not to get mushy or anything, but when i walked into the program room and there were 20 kids sitting at the tables and they yelled surprise (even though i was sitting only a few feet away from the door while they were setting up and knew exactly what they were doing) and then sang happy birthday to me, it really made me feel all warm inside. i mean, a lot of these kids used to hate me. and now they all love me. because i put the time in and worked really hard to make the library a fun (and often educational), welcoming and safe place for them. and i know that part of their joy in my birthday was the excitement of getting cake, but they really were there to celebrate the greatness which is me. oh, and my favorite kid bought me a balloon and a fake rose that has a little teddy bear on it (i had told him that my little bears were my favorite animals. i don't actually have a favorite animal, but he wouldn't accept that as an answer). anyway, the whole thing was super sweet. and my fantastic assistant baked me a cake that was really yummy.

anyway, you might be wondering why my birthday was celebrated on wednesday since today is actually the eve of my birthday. well, that is because yesterday and today i have been at central being trained on our new ILS system. ohhh, i cannot tell you about our new ILS system. its all hush hush until we go "live." but pretty much, we are getting a new computer system, which in my humble opinion is long overdue. so i, for one, welcome the new ILS system with open arms! for instance, the new ILS system can do keyword searches AND boolean searches! yay! it's like we're a library or something. and this new system is windows based, so no more annoying codes to memorize. windows! whodda thunk it?!
so ILS Training is two days long. now, i am a computer savvy kinda gal and i tell you i do not need two full days to learn the ILS system (it's so user friendly! windows-based!). i'd say i could learn this in one day, preferrably broken up into two morning sessions. but alas i am stuck here. and what i am noticing is that an alarming number of librarians have no computer smarts at all. for instance, we were learning how to create new accounts for patrons (ie a person wants a new library card) and there is a very simple form that pops up and you have to add the patron's information into said form. there are no weird codes to memorize or anything like that. just put their info into the form. well! there were several people that just threw their arms up in exasperation at this. then there was someone who was very confused that the window on her computer screen was smaller than the window on the instructor's screen. now, first i thought that obviously the window on the instructor's screen is larger because she is working on a large projection screen which is ten to twenty times the size of our laptop screens. but then i realized that the woman didn't know that when working in windows you can resize your windows to be larger or smaller based on your own preferrence. urgh. its all very painful for me to watch. which leads me to my point:
i believe that with trainings, there should be a special "fast track" training for people like me who understand the nature of things and will therefore learn new things quickly. because as it is now, i am finding it hard to continue to pay attention. thank god for lunch breaks (and my $6 credit towards lunch in the cafeteria!)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

shhhhhh ... it's a surprise

the children are in the program room. i'm not allowed inside. they are "secretly" preparing for my birthday party. my favorite kid has already told me that today will most likely be "the greatest day ever." oooooh, what's going to happen next?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

all about me: this week's puzzle

every week i make a puzzle for the kids to solve, and if they can solve it within the week they get a cheap prize that is in no way near worth the time and effort it takes to solve the puzzle. yay! usually the puzzles are word searches or crossword puzzles or math puzzles, etc. you know, things that might be educational. and usually i try to make them correspond with an upcoming holiday or season.
so i decided that this week, in honor of my upcoming birthday, i would make a puzzle all about ME! i went on the internet and was able to create a crossword puzzle all about everyone's favorite librarian. here are the clues:
  1. ms. dewey decimal is turning this age on saturday
  2. the season ms. dewey decimal was born in
  3. the birthstone for people born in this month
  4. this is ms. dewey decimal's favorite book, written by a famous british woman
  5. what month is ms. dewey decimal's birthday in
  6. a great career, according to ms. dewey decimal
  7. people born from may 21-june 20 are this astrological sign
  8. people born in 1978 are this sign in the chinese zodiac

i hope they find it amusing.

it's official ... i'm a keeper

today i had my 11 month probationary review. and although for a while i was dreading this, having been told i would most likely be fired, i entered my review with my head held high, thinking that it would go well. and it did!
i was evaluated and it was determined that i am a satisfactory employee. short blurbs were written highlighting my performance and no negative comments were made. and although i would have liked some glowing oh-how-awesome-is-miss-dewey-decimal-let-me-count-the-ways type comments, there were some subtle hints that i am in fact an exemplary employee. so i have been recommended to keep my position permanently, and there was even a comment made saying that the library is "glad to have me." also, in preparation of this meeting, i had drawn up an extensive list of my accomplishments here and i was able to have this list put in my permanent record. whether or not anyone reads said record is yet to be seen.
so really, it is the best of all possible worlds. the new non-mean environment is growing strong, and now i am officially not fired. sweet.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

a life without the internets is not worth living

ohmygod! i just got home from the most boring saturday at work EVER. our entire system was down. we couldn't check books in, or check them out, or look up anyone's account. the internet was down on both our employee computers AND the public computers. so every patron that came in, quickly left when they realized they couldn't go online. oh, it was so awful. the place was a ghost town. at first i tried to be productive. going through the new books that had come in, pulling out the summer reading books so that i could make a display. i even made a "book worm" out of construction paper, complete with googley eyes, so that the kids will be able to fill in the body of the worm with what books they read over the summer. its super cute. will post pics once i put it up. but then there were all these things i wanted to do that either involved using the catalog or going online. like ordering books. or checking which summer reading books we owned. or ordering craft supplies. so by afternoon i had run out of computer-free tasks. oh the humanity. i did two crossword puzzles, read Persepolis (very good. highly recommend it), ate my weight in candy, and then started to re-read the last harry potter book. thank god i am home so that i can check things online. oh, how did we ever live without the web?

Friday, May 23, 2008

summer is here ... clothing is optional

so i don't think i've ever discussed my hatred of american apparel, but i ask you ... is this an outfit? and if so, where is it appropriate to wear such a thing? i would say that this outfit seems most appropriate for a burlesque tap dancing class. doesn't this look like something someone might do some warm-ups in, then practice some shuffle heel steps, then strip down into pasties? (not that i would know, of course. he he he) but i guess with the changing of the seasons soon i will be seeing half naked anorexics walking around the nabe wearing this type of stuff. ahhhh summer.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

a life without wii ...

so after my posting about how my favorite kid was confused by my lack of interest in typical girly materialistic possessions ie diamonds and jewelry, i got this e-mail from my mother. she apparently is very concerned for my well-being:
in your blog, you said that you wanted a wii. what is that,
and, should i try to find one for you???

oh mom, you're so cute! as if i am out here in brooklyn suffering terribly from my lack of a wii. ah yes, that is the fate of a penniless novelist, no wii. or maybe she thought a wii was an exotic item that can only be purchased in large box stores out on long island. i must admit, i do get excited when we go to bed bath and beyond.

tonsillitis still life

turns out i have tonsillitis. yup. didn't see that one coming. sinusitis and bronchitis are really my -itises of choice. anyway in honor of my infected tonsils i would like to do a little run through of my new meds:
1. antibiotics
2. allegra d - to dry out my massive congestion. my dr. couldn't see my sinuses. that's how congested i am. my sinuses cannot be found. but i assure you, they're there.
3. steroids (that's right i'm juicing) - in order to stop the swelling of my tonsils and nasal passages
4. zantac - because the steriods most likely will upset my digestive system
5. diflucan - because the antibiotics and the steroids might give me .... um ... lady trouble.
6. vitamins c & e
now, this is on top of me already taking singulair and nose spray and acidophillis and vitamin b daily. so now i am taking so many pills i can't fit them all in my old lady pill holder. impressive, no?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

i will not smack my mama

health - i am ill. spent all of last night resting (and baking cookies, but that was very restful) and i STILL woke up with a sore throat and lots o' mucus. but my mother would be so proud of me, i have made an appointment with my ear nose and throat specialist for tomorrow morning.
environment - it is just Pleasant McPleasantville over here. i just had a nice conversation about my various allergy meds: singulair, astelin, mucinex (and a variety of vitamins). anyway, it has been 3 or 4 weeks of niceness here. i am gonna go out on a limb and say this might be a permanent change here.
crafts - today we made these lovely memorial day wreaths. oh, how i love to make wreaths out of paper plates.
my birthday - my assistant is planning a birthday party for me wednesday. my favorite kid is "secretly" making me a present. it's not so secret though because every few minutes he comes up to me and asks me stuff like "miss dewey decimal, what's your favorite color?" and "miss dewey decimal, if you could have something very expensive what would it be?" he was very perplexed when i said i wasn't really interested in diamonds and would rather have a wii.
misc - i just learned a new phrase: "it's so good it makes you want to smack your mama." i must be old because i told a child that i found this phrase offensive.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

honest like a mirror

so it turns out i did not magically fight off my sore throat. it has been slowly beating me into submission. i took off of work two days last week and rested, then it got better. then saturday i ventured outside. then it got worse again. then sunday i spent the day on the couch reading, and it got better again. then i went to work the past two days, and now it is bad again. why? why, i ask you? i won't even tell you about the "mucus incident" this morning. you don't want to know.

hold on a sec ... gotta go check on my cookies. i'm baking oatmeal chocolate chip cookies instead of writing my novel (which, might i add everyone in my class LOVES. the novel, not the cookies. although i may bring cookies tomorrow)

ah! still not done!

anyway, not much is going on ... writing, getting sick, hanging out with the kiddies ... same old stuff. but yesterday we did something very interesting. i don't know how it came about, but somehow my assistant and i were talking with the kids and they mentioned that they wanted to have "debates." so we said, "ok, let's have debates." so yesterday we did something that we named "great debates." pretty much, i looked up middle school debate club topics on the internets and came up with some issues that the kids could debate about. stuff like "should junk food be banned in schools" and "should field trips be educational" and "should violent video games be banned" etc etc. anyway, the kids got pretty into it. they debated really well, and after the all had one-on-one debates they asked if they could make "debate teams." so then we broke the kids up into teams of four and had them compete in teams for one final topic.

(cookies are done. man they're good. i'm so domestical)

anyway, the kids did a really good job. we have these two kids from africa that have been coming in. they just moved here and they're really smart thoughtful kids. the only problem is that the boy has a serious stuttering problem. i'm not sure about the etiquette with stuttering, but i've heard that you're supposed to just let the person keep going and not interrupt them. so i let this kid stutter through what he's going to say and he usually has something ver profound to say. but his stutter is REALLY bad so i wind up translating for the other kids. anyway, we had a little problem with some kids laughing while this kid was trying to debate. but i called them out and i think it was ok.

then my favorite kid had a little trouble understanding the idea behind debating. he kind of wanted to argue both the pros and cons of each topic. which, in real life, is good. we SHOULD look at both sides of each issue closely. but you do have to choose one side when debating. he didn't care for that too much.

that, dear blog readers, is what i have been up to as of late. and i will leave you with a poem that my stuttering child wrote during one of our poetry month program. i think it's pretty deep:

roses are red
violets are blue
i am honest
like a mirror

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

ooops, i forgot to post this

you miss me, don't you. i know. it's hard. but i'm a busy lady! and then earlier this week i came down with yet another sore throat. but luckily i was able to stave it off without becoming seriously ill! yay! so here are some tidbits for your enjoyment:

today this woman came in asking how to check her email. this is a normal thing. lots of times older patrons have set up an email account, either through a class or with the help of a young whipper-snapper relative, and now have no idea how to check it. so my friend approaches her. "do you have a library card?" she asks, "you'll need a library card to get on the computer. then i can show you how to check your email." seriously the patience of a saint, that one. so the woman looks at her, then looks at me and says, "oh, i need to get on a computer?" then my friend reiterates that yes you do need to get on a computer to check your email. then the woman frowns, obviously disappointed, "oh," she says, "i thought i could just check it. i didn't know i needed to use a computer." she says this as though we are going about unreasonable methods for e-mail checking, then she walks away. walks away! as if she might find a different solution elsewhere. as if at some other library maybe they can pull her emails out of the sky. damned. i wish we had that kind of technology. all we have is RFID.

then the other day i was talking with one of the teens that works in the library and she was asking me how long i've worked here. "you've been here a long time, right?" she asks. so i tell her i've been here almost a year and she says that she thinks that's the longest time a children's librarian has ever been here. wow. that's a bit sad. "so," she continues, "you must really like it here?" and i tell her that i do in fact like it here, and now that the atmosphere has changed to be the new peachy-go-lucky atmosphere that it is, i do like it here. and then i add, "you know, when i first got here the kids were crazy." she nods in agreement. i continue, "they were insane. but now they're actually really good." she agrees again, and then we have a nice little discussion about how it just takes a while for the kids in this neighborhood to trust anyone. and i left the library pondering how remarkable it is that these kids are now behaving and learning stuff. damned i'm good.

periodicals perplexing no more

i don't think i've ever discussed with you the black pit of despair which has been my periodicals section for the past few months. you see, we have this lovely magazine display (shown left) that holds the magazine (each shelf flips up so that older issues can be stored behind the display area). when i first got here there were neat little stickers saying which magazines went where. and of course the magazines were all over the place, with no relation what-so-ever to the helpful stickers. then i noticed about 2 years worth of back issues of each magazine being "stored" on the shelves behind the display. and this 2-year backlog was in no particular order. yay! so i attacked this immediately, throwing out all the magazines that were more than 6 months old, and putting all the issues where they belonged. it was beautiful. and i made sure my page stayed on top of it, so for a while all was good. but then we got this extra money that we were told had to be used for periodicals. this might have been good if we weren't already at capacity for the number of magazines which could neatly be kept on our magazine shelves. so i picked out a few magazines that i thought we be a nice addition to the collection. and then a few weeks later we were inundated with something like 10 new magazines in addition to the magazines we were already getting. oh, did i mention that we also get 10 different comic books as well? so all of a sudden there is just no way that it is physically possible to keep the magazines and comics in a neat and meaningfully organized fashion. so i ordered these file holders, thinking i could put all the comics in the file holders and then keep the magazines on the shelves. i also wanted to "highlight" the magazines and try to get the kids to read them instead of only reading the comics. not that there's anything wrong with comics. so after several months of waiting (why does everything take so long?) i finally got 4 of the 12 file holders i ordered. so maybe in 4 more months i will get the remaining file holders. but anyway, in the months of waiting for my file holders i would merely try to avoid eye contact with the magazine section. yup, that will make the problem go away. but now everything is peachy keen and i have my magazines beautifully displayed. and you can see at the bottom right (below the concept books, which i also hate) i have my four file holders with four different comics. and the rest of the comics are in little piles on the shelves beside them. of course these little piles get messed up instantly, but they look good when there are no children here.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

the greatest BBQ i never went to

so here i am, little old me, sitting at my desk researching books about web design for kids (there aren't many, let me tell you) ... and my friend comes over and tells me that the guys outside are barbecuing. now, we have these guys who hang out nextdoor. i don't know much about them, but i've heard they are nefarious types in a "questionable" line of work. so when my friend comes to tell me that "guys" are barbecuing "outside" i mistakenly assume that she means outside as in on their own property. so i shrug this off and go back to my research (do you know the only book i could find was from 2004? i'm sure web design has changed since then) anyway, she then returns and says she is concerned that they may be barbecuing on our property. so i investigate.
there is not a shadow of doubt that they are on our property. they are standing directly in front of the floor to ceiling windows that separate the library from the courtyard where we have two trees and a small sitting area. this can only be our property. and there they are, about 7 guys with a bbq ablaze. they've set up a small folding table. they're passing around aluminum pans filled with various meats. i've never seen anything like it.
now, i am a tough cookie. and i don't mind confronting patrons when i need to. but there is no amount of money that will get me outside telling these guys that they can't bbq here. have i mentioned that my 2 supervisors are out of the building and i am in charge right now? yeah.
as i said in an earlier post the environment here has changed as of late, and i am enjoying my job much more. however, i am not willing to put myself in harm's way for my job. nuh uh.
at first i thought i would just call the police. then, i decided i would call official library security. well, they were quite impressed with this predicament! i was told that security would be coming over to alert these fine gentlemen that bbqing on our property is not allowed. you know, insurance reasons. but as for now, it is still going on. maybe you'd like to stop by. i hear they just put steaks on the grill.

our little librarian is all grown up

don't worry, this won't be some sappy post about me turning 30 at the end of the month.
this morning i went to my new corner bodega, which i don't care for and try to avoid. you see, i kinda sorta live near the projects. i wouldn't even mind going to the projects bodega and enduring the friendly cat-calls. this morning someone called me snowflake! but in a nice way. i believe he first said something like, "damned i like the look of that girl (i have on a cute dress). ooooh, snowflake ..." anyway, i would tolerate this IF the bodega was like the kurdish bodega and was filled with all sorts of goodies for me to buy. but in reality this bodega kind of sucks and they don't have much of anything. so i went in there to get a tea because i couldn't make tea at home because i ran out of soy milk. so the guy gives my tea and i get into my car and drive away, only to realize that he gave me coffee instead. yuck coffee. i DO NOT drink coffee unless it is one of those chocolately frappaccino whipped cream extravaganzas that more closely resembles a milkshake. those i will drink. gladly. anyway ... i didn't want to go back so i decided to take a sip of the dreaded coffee. i have never in my life been able to drink an entire cup of coffee as i kinda find the taste to be completely disgusting.

but what do you know? it wasn't half bad. it's not as nice as tea, but it was drinkable. so i drank most of it, but i didn't finish it because i was a little concerned i might become "hopped up" on caffeine and possibly lose control of my better judgement. luckily, i feel fine. but does this mean i am now a coffee drinker? like a real grown up?

i hear this stuff is bad for you. i don't want to get addicted. whenever i go to a doctor they're always saying not to drink too much coffee. and i always pride myself on being ahead of the game on that one. and then they say to eat healthy. check. done. and then they say to exercise regularly and get enough sleep. done and done. around this point i always wonder why the hell i have any health problems at all. i am practically vice-free.

in conclusion ... don't be surprised if you see me in your local coffeeshop hopped up on espresso acting the fool.

Monday, May 5, 2008

worth your weight in googley eyes

do you know what this is? it's a close-up of the bag of googley eyes that was delivered today! and we got all our crafts for summer reading, which include kits for making: bracelets, suncatchers, 3D fish, kaleidoscopes (can you believe the kid who hates hoboes doesn't know what a kaleidoscope is?), paddleballs, etc. AND we received our butterfly growing kit (caterpillars to be sent at a later date). oooh, it's going to be a fun summer.
today we played a rousing round of "word up," the dictionary racing game invented by yours truly. i noticed that even after our last session of word up, the kids kind of have NO CLUE how to use a dictionary. so today i did a little demonstration using guide words and a sort of alphabet time-line showing how to determine where in the alphabet a given letter would be.
man, i just don't know what these kids learn in school. i mean, nevermind that they have no concept of how to use a dictionary, but alot of them barely know alphabetical order. and i'm talking kids in 3rd and 4th grade. i asked one girl where M would be on my alphabetic time line. "would it be in the beginning, the middle, or the end?" and she just looked at me blankly like i asked her to solve some quantum physics equation. grrrrrr.

ohmygod! twilight trailer!

i had heard they were making a movie out of this book (twilight by stephanie meyer ... so awesome). i'm a little disappointed with how edward looks. i imagined him to be a tall pale slightly effeminate blonde. but whatevs. i'll still go see it when it comes out. yummmm, edward.

Friday, May 2, 2008

everyone's favorite republican

today when i went into the staff room for my break i did something which i have never done before. i turned on the very small black and white tv sitting in the corner ... and i watched it. you are probably asking yourself, "why miss dewey decimal?! why would you watch mind-numbing television?" well, it was because i had left my reading material in the car. you might be thinking to yourself that as a librarian i would have a wealth of reading material surrounding me. well, you'd be right. but i had already made it into the staff room and i didn't feel like going back into the trenches where someone might ask me a question, thus cutting into my precious lunch time. so i sat and watched me some family feud.

it turns out that watching family feud was a very very scary experience. the category was "facts about al gore." first there was the head-to-head face off. the woman who buzzed in first won with "ran for president." ahh, well spotted madam. al gore did run for president.

play was then turned over to her family, and the first player proudly proclaimed "is a republican!" as her answer. can you believe it? that wasn't on the board as a fact about AL GORE!? wtf?!

okay, now i am not always up on the latest politics. but i think that a grown person in america today should know that al gore is a democrat. i mean, c'mon! 2000 election? ran against g. w. bush? florida recount? any of these things ring a bell? it's not like we're asking for facts about aaron burr or something.

okay. fine. moving on. so then the next member of the family cleverly says "is a democrat" as her fact about al gore. phew! good save! then the family gets another strike against them when a player proclaims that al gore "is from arkansas." no, i'm sorry. that is bill clinton. yes, i know you thought they were the same person. but they are in fact two seperate men. crazy talk, i know.

the game continued with little fanfare until there was one answer left. but sadly neither team could guess the answer. i was sitting with baited breath thinking the answer would be something like "is an environmentalist." but that wasn't the right answer either. do you know what the answer was? do you? take a guess. fill in your guess here _______________________.

nope! you're wrong! the correct last fact about al gore is that he "has gained weight."
yup. america has spoken.

i can growl like a bear but i choose not to

today the wee little ones came in for a storytime. they really are cute. they're so small. we had a good storytime even though they were a bit rowdy and i felt that at any minute they could rise up and overtake me. but luckily they didn't. so it was fine.
we read the following books:
can you growl like a bear by john butler - it turns out that the kids can in fact growl like bears. they can also get out of their seats and start crawling like bears as well. just in case you were wondering.
zookeeper sue by chris demarest
brown bear brown bear what do you see by eric carle
charlie chick by nick denchfield
where's spot by eric hill
in the tall tall grass by denise fleming
all in all it was good. i feel like i need to switch things up and find some new books for next time. i'm getting sick of these books.

in other news a very strange thing has been going on at my library. at first i didn't want to mention it because i didn't want to jinx anything. but this has gone on all week and i feel i must comment. the atmosphere at my library has drastically changed this week. all of a sudden there is a friendly type environment, as opposed to everything being rife with tension. it's nice this new friendliness. it makes working here downright pleasant.
curious. very curious.