Tuesday, December 29, 2009


little girl: (holding a spongebob squarepants book) what level is this?
me: we don't have levels here. what grade are you in?
little girl: third
me: then you can read that book
girl: (eyes wide with excitement) yay, thanks!

and miss dewey decimal saves the day by allowing kids to read books that are interesting!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

hanukkah fairy stops traffic at times square

so i realized i never shared with you my finished hanukkah fairy costume (with faux fur jacket!). sadly, i didn't get a chance to take a picture of the awesome felt menorah oh-so-cleverly glued onto the back, but i think you get the idea.

some costume details to look for:
* actual dreidels sewn into the skirt of my dress
* jewish star "pasties" glued onto ... ahem .... well you can guess where
* blue fairy wand
*hanukkah "dingle hoppers" headband
* jewish stars puff painted on dress to cover booze spilled in previous years ;)

oh, the crafy craftiness knows no bounds.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

reading level riot

before i start my rant let me tell you that i do in fact know some teachers personally, and they are not retarded. i assume these "non-retarded" teachers are not the minority, but evidence has proven the contrary.

so it has come to my attention that someone at the local school is dissatisfied with the library. they work with parents and say that a lot of parents have been complaining that they are unable to find the books that are on their child's "level." complaining to the school, because it is the school that gives the assignments, not us.

now, these reading levels are made up of letters which determine what books the child "can" read. we do not use levels here. when a kid comes up and says "what book would be good for me?" we ask the kid a series of questions and then pick out books for that child. OR , another way to put it is that instead of just pigeonholing a child into a meaningless system, we give each child individual attention and help them find a book which is appropriate and interesting to them. this is how it has been in public libraries since the dawn of children's literature. if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

so this person from the school was complaining that the public library should be organized not by dewey decimal system, or by genre, or author ... oh no! instead the library which serves the ENTIRE community, should be organized by the local school's reading level system. of course! let's cater to just you, local school! forget the community as a whole!

it was even suggested that the school would send help so that we could re-arrange our collection of tens of thousands of books to their liking. then i helpfully suggested that if they want a library that caters to them, maybe they should work on their own school library. surely, it would make sense if the school wants a library that caters to the school's reading level system, why not do this at the school library. see where i'm going here? but alas, the school library doesn't have all the books that ours does. so instead of them working to improve their collection, they figure it will be easier and cheaper to just mess with us. thanks!

you might be asking yourself, "self, what's so bad about reading levels?" well i'll tell you. reading levels are not inherently evil. but here at the library it isn't our job to teach kids how to read or to give them boring reading assignments. our job is to foster a love of reading. so if a kid picks up a book that interests them, we encourage them to read it. maybe it's a graphic novel, maybe it's a magazine, maybe it's a book that's a little too easy for them but they'd enjoy reading it. we don't care! we just want people to read something that they like reading. then later, if they want to read something more difficult, they can read that too.

imagine if adults had reading levels ... i would love to go up to someone and say, "oh i'm sorry sir, you can't read that new dan brown book. the lost symbol is totally below your reading level. here's a copy of the canterbury tales instead." or maybe next time i see a nice old lady picking up a danielle steele novel i should rip it out of her hands and give her madame bovary instead. you catch my drift?

and a few times i have actually encountered kids who wanted to read a more advanced book, but were afraid to since it wasn't on their level. can you imagine? some kid picks up harry potter and then finds out that it's a level above him so he puts it back and picks out something that is less interesting to him. great! what a way to encourage reading!

now, just to further complicate things ... many non-teachers believe that reading levels are a bit of a scam created by the publishing companies. for instance, they sell these "leveled" books in bulk to the schools, and many of the titles are not available for separate purchase by libraries or other individuals. also, many of the titles which are on these reading level lists are actually out of print, and therefore can no longer be purchased.

in the end, i was told i should "meet up" with this school person and "work it out." but i am a bit unclear about what there is to "work out." i think in the meantime, i will just stick to recommending quality age appropriate books to the children. like i'm a librarian or something.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

why miss dewey decimal loves xmas

this may just be my year to finally drive a tractor!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

poetry is always a crocodile

today we had a program which i created called "reading rocks." no, it is not reading a rock, but an affirmation that the art of reading totally rocks. yeah!

in "reading rocks" i will typically read to the kids, usually ghost stories or funny short stories or riddles, etc and then we will do a small craft. it's not the most popular program, but i usually get a handful of kids, which i think makes it worthwhile. there will be reading in the library, damnit!

so today i read the kids shel silverstein poems. turns out shel silverstein actually visited one of the local schools! who knew?! i am slightly less disillusioned with the public school system now!

anyway ... a lot of the times these poems have a little "twist" at the end, so often if the kids aren't paying attention i have to explain what happened in the poem. so i read the following poem about a crocodile with a toothache, aptly named "crocodile toothache:"

The Crocodile
Went to the dentist
And sat down in the chair,
And the dentist said, "Now tell me, sir,
Why does it hurt and where?"
And the Crocodile said, "I'll tell you the truth,
I have a terrible ache in my tooth,"
And he opened his jaws so wide, so wide,
The the dentist, he climbed right inside,
And the dentist laughed, "Oh isn't this fun?"
As he pulled the teeth out, one by one.
And the Crocodile cried, "You're hurting me so!
Please put down your pliers and let me go."
But the dentist laughed with a Ho Ho Ho,
And he said, "I still have twelve to go-
Oops, that's the wrong one, I confess,
But what's one crocodile's tooth more or less?"
Then suddenly, the jaws went SNAP,
And the dentist was gone, right off the map,
And where he went one could only guess...
To North or South or East or West...
He left no forwarding address.
But what's one dentist, more or less?

so at the end of the poem i ask, "what happened to the dentist?" and one very bright kid said "he got eaten."

"that's right," i said, "the crocodile ate the dentist."

and then some of the kids that have trouble listening were all, "ohmygod! the crocodile ate the dentist!" better late than never folks.

so then this bright kid says, "that's what always happens in poems."

"what always happens in poems?" i ask.

"crocodiles," he tells me. "crocodiles are always eating people in poems. duh, it's so obvious."

indeed, smart kid, indeed. too much of the canon of american poetry is littered with crocodile assaults.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

the usps hates hanukkah

you may or may not know that the holidays are a very important time for me. why you ask? because there is one very special day in december when several hundred people dressed as santa claus form a flash mob in new york city and spend about 12 hours bar hopping and causing chaos. oh santacon, how i love thee.

as a cultural jew, i'm sure you can imagine that i have scruples with dressing up as santa (or dressing up as a "slutty santa" as many of my female peers do) so instead i have invented my own fab character ... the hanukkah fairy. my costume consists of a blue fairy costume that i have adorned with dredyls and jewish stars and all sorts of decorations. every year i try to improve upon this costume, adding a blue wig, a wand, etc. often i will hand out hanukkah stickers or chocolate gelt to children i meet on the street. i am SO much cooler than santa.

now, as you can see from the picture here, this costume is a bit slinky and does not provide the warmth that a santa suit does. luckily the last time i participated in santacon it was unseasonably warm. i doubt i will be that lucky again. so i decided this year i would add a nice cropped white faux fur jacket. and i figured i would decorate the jacket with a huge felt menorah on the back and maybe a dreydl on the front. i was thinking letterman jacket style, but made sassy for jews. anyhoo, i found a jacket on ebay and purchased it. i have been waiting oh-so-patiently for it to arrive at the library (i no longer have packages sent to my house since my last post office incident)

but then it never came and when i inquired where it was i learned that the seller had sent it to my home instead of my listed shipping address ... so again we delve into the horrors of the frightfully inefficient williamsburg post office.

1. i call the 800 number and they say they are unclear where the package is ... it is "out for delivery" since 2 days ago, but there is no sign that a delivery attempt has been made. sure, i can see why it would take 2 days to drive the package from the post office to my house. i mean, it is like 10 blocks away. a complaint was filed since apparently, this is contradictory to several different protocols.
2. i was given the direct number to my post office to call and see if i could arrange to pick up said package. (this will involve me missing work to go to the post office since they have shitty hours)
3. i called twice and got no answer. not an answering machine or a busy signal. just no answer.
4. i called a third time and i spoke to someone who immediately put me on hold. after being on hold for 15 minutes i hung up.
5. i called again, a fourth time! and again was immediately put on hold without so much as giving someone my tracking number. this time i waited 20 minutes before i gave up.
6. i called a third time and was quite bitchy and finally i got someone to agree to look for my package. of course, she wouldn't look for it right then. she said she would look for it and then call me if they didn't find it. then i stated that i wanted to come in and pick it up, but i'm not going to miss work just to go there and have them tell me that they don't know where it is. (this happened several times during the post office blues fiasco). so then she agreed to call me either way, if she found it or didn't find it. likely story. i will not be holding my breath for this phone call.

so sadly, the future of the hanukkah fairy hangs in the balance. will i be able to get my coat and not freeze my ass of? only time and incompetant postal workers will tell. if anyone has any suggestions where i can get a cute but inexpensive bolero type shrug faux fur coat please let me know.

Friday, December 4, 2009

an easy reader a day keeps illiteracy away

today while routing in some books, i became re-energized in my plan to read one spanish easy reader a day. certainly, if i read a book a day in spanish it will help me to understand spanish better. no? but instead of an easy reader i couldn't help but read "if you give a pig a pancake" in spanish. what will happen if le das una panqueque a una cerdita? yo no se!

why must i improve my spanish, you ask? where might i be off to next, you ponder? well, my dear beloved poor forsaken blog readers i cannot tell you that just yet. but i will say this: when bolshevics wine and dine you on your one year anniversary, asking you in all earnestness if you will please do them the honor of running away with them ... the answer is always yes. si? si!

of course, i shall miss mi amor el bolshevik as he has just informed me that he will be going to panama for the holidays. ay dios mio!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

keepin' it old school

so i just couldn't resist bringing this clever cleverness to your attention ... another highlight of the party was the "take your picture with edward" photobooth (faces have been changed to protect the innocent).

now, i did this at our last twilight party and someone asked "how'd you do that miss dewey decimal? did you use photoshop?" no. i don't know how to use such complicated things as photoshop. i bought a poster of edward and bella and then cut bella's head out and encouraged kids to put their face in the hole where bella's face once was. anyway, it works quite well and even the boys enjoyed it once i explained that they could just make scary goofy faces. oh, there is no end to my awesomeness.

it's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life

ok beloved blog readers, i am back! (don't believe a word i say) no, really, i am. i am totally going to write this blog again. i swear. really.

so yesterday in honor of everyone's favorite vampire werewolf love-triangle, i threw a New Moon party at the library. let me tell you, throwing these parties is hard work. and sadly, a lot of the work needs to be done on my own time. like baking these "vampire bites" sugar cookies. get it, it's like they were bitten by a vampire? so clever.

so two nights this week instead of finishing the first draft of my novel (so close!), i spent preparing for this party. which leads me to believe that if i didn't have a full time job, i would totally have enough free time to do what i need to do to get my job done. huh? dizzies the mind, doesn't it?

the first night of non-writing i spent baking. however, i was very efficient and i spent the baking downtime listing items to sell on amazon. i am trying to rid myself of unnecessary items and live a more monkish lifestyle. except with lots of drinking and fab outfit changes.

then the second night i spent making iron-ons so that i could create twilight themed t-shirts as prizes for the kids. these actually turned out really cool. but time consuming.

the day of the party was total chaos. the devoted teen helpers we have here at happy shiny new library were all at meetings or otherwise engaged, so it was just me and my fab co-librarian in crime. we had a bella scavenger hunt, in which the kids were released into the library to solve clues all based on books that bella reads in the series (bella is a reader, i'll have you know.) do you know what i learned from this dear blog readers? the children have idea where we keep the books. and even when i was following them around giving them extra hints they were pretty abismal at finding stuff. even when it was right in front of them and i was screaming, "hot! hot! you're right there! look right in front of you!"

we had several other games, like a bella bandage wrap up relay and an unwrap bella's birthday present "hot potato" game. and lastly we also played Twilight Scene It?

now, you are probably asking your self "self, how did miss dewey decimal possibly afford to buy Twilight Scene It? on her measely budget?" well, the answer astute blog reader is that i didn't. i bought it with my OWN MONEY. but here is the clever clever part. since it has only been played one time and it is oh so perfectly still in tact, i am going to try to "flip it" on eBay! maybe you would like to purchase it? it was been touched by your beloved miss dewey d! if you buy it, maybe i'll make you a special crafty card or something to show my appreciation.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

two months of silence and now this

here's what i would look like if i were a mermaid made out of a popsicle stick. enjoy!

Friday, September 18, 2009

i'm leaving on a jet plane

it's been so long since i've complained about my general maladies. hasn't it? i know you all are dying to hear about some maladies. well here goes ...

first off, with the rigorous summer reading schedule i really wore myself out. all those programs, and then us being down a manager ... it was tough. and for the past two months i've been getting sick fortnightly (i love the word "fortnight") ... so at first i tried to rest in my down time and take it easy. this of course was very boring and i missed out on lots of fun summer activities. and wouldn't you know it? it didn't even work anyway. and it was so boring.

so last weekend i decided i would ride in the nyc 20th century bike tour, even though i was recovering from illness. of course, i decided that since i was not in tip top shape the best thing for me to do would be to sleep late. so my friends began the ride at 7 am up in central park at 110th street, while i slept all cozy cuddly with the bolshevik. then at around 9:30 i got a phone call from miss fifi who had made it to prospect park already, and was politely asking me where the hell i was. oh miss fifi! so i finally emerged from bed, bid the bolshevik adieu, and got on my bike. by the time i got to propect park the riders were long gone, but then i booked it to coney island in record time and was able to reunite with miss fifi at marine park! i am SO good. and then we had a lovely time riding off into the sunset together. all in all, i rode 40 miles of the 55 mile ride (fifi rode even longer since she had riden about 10 miles just to get to the start line!)

but then dear blog readers, as i was tasting the sweet taste of success, i began to feel this strange pain in my knee. oh the pain! i've never been injured before due to sporty sporty-ness. ouch. even my free finish-line massage didn't help. so i've kinda been hobbling around ever since, applying the tiger balm and keeping it elevated and all that.

so then this week, my stupid sore throat came back AND i was hobbling around and it was all very sad. but the show must go on!

so yesterday we did something quite fab, despite my maladies ... at boy's club i decided to have a paper plane competition. i printed up a bunch of different paper plane templates from the internets, and set them up at various parts of the room. i gave the boys about 30 minutes to make as many planes as they wanted, telling them they would be judged on flight distance as well as plane style. so they had a fine time making the planes and coloring them with markers yada yada yada. i noticed a lot of them had some trouble following the basic directions, the trouble being that they refused to read them. so i think we will do more things where they have to read and follow directions. then we had the flight competitions where they threw their planes onto the "runway" and i placed little masking tape pieces where each plane landed. it was very exctiting and our top winners all received prizes. afterwards one of the boys came up to me and said he had so much fun and he didn't even mind that he didn't win a prize. ah, super sweet.

oh, and on the subject of planes i will be going on a TWO WEEK vacation very soon to argentina, accompanied by my beloved bolshevik. ay ay ay!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

fall is here ... thank god

that's right ... today is the first day of school. yay! the children are no longer here 8 hours a day. yay! oh sweet relief. guess what? it's quiet in here! like a library or something.

let's see my poor forsaken blog readers ... what has been going on?

i went to honduras to visit my beloved bolshevik for a few days. that was lovely. i will not summarize it for you, but i will instead quote the bolshevik .... "that image of the man at pico bonito hotel, walking up to us as we arrived and offering us rum drinks in coconuts ... that will stay with me until the day i die." indeed, bolshevik. indeed.

also, the manager of happy new shiny library has sadly retired. we all loved her so. and now we are awaiting the arrival of a new manager. this is a little frightening since we do not know who said manager will be. shhhhhh. it's a surprise! i typically love surprises. but not this one.

anyhoo, now that it is fall we get to go back to our regularly scheduled programs, which means anywhere between 1 to 3 programs a day instead of the intense summer schedule of 3 to 5 programs a day. phew!

our highlight this month is the girls club & boys club. do not let the name fool you. it is not "boys and girls club." the boys and the girls will not be mingling. instead we do girly activities with the girls and boy stuff with the boys. we are imposing strict gender roles! but it's so fun. the kids really get into excluding each other. is that wrong?

anyway, yesterday at girls club we made these fab bracelets out of toilet paper tubes. we had some fun fabrics that we got from Materials from the Arts and we used them to cover the toilet paper tubes (you can see how this was accomplished with the bracelet on the right). then we glued on all sorts of bling. oh how i love bling! we used glitter foam shapes, beads, rhinestones, feathers, sequins ... anything that could be glued down. i must say that i had insisted on purchasing a bunch of glue guns with our grant money, and it was one of my most useful acquisitions.

and that's the story for now.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

awesome and exhausted

so i've been fighting off this cold for the past few weeks and because the library is short-staffed and we have anywhere between 3 to 5 programs a day, i have been working non-stop. in my free time i lie down a lot and try to rest and obsess about not getting more ill. it's all very tiring.

but this week we did two very cool things.

cool thing #1 - we had a teen Name that MP3 competition. now, i have about 7,000 songs on my iTunes, so i figured it wouldn't be too hard to come up with a sizeable list of songs that the young whipper snappers might know. and the bolshevik is always sneaking hip hop onto my iPod, so i figured i was all set. but alas, that was not the case. i looked over my extensive music library and realized that i have quite an oscure collection of music. why, certainly inner city teens would know such bands as Dirty Projectors, and Belle and Sebastian, and Fleet Foxes and Sleater-Kinney. who doesn't know them? so then i had a little panic about this program totally bombing if the teens didn't bring their own iPods filled with music that is actually popular.

but lo and behold the teens actually brought in their iPods and they all got very excited to pick out songs and try to stump the other participants. any time someone got one right we would throw them a hershey's kiss or one of those little "fun size" candy bars you give out at halloween.

then, every so often i would pick a song from my own iPod and try to challenge them and expand their minds with my musical trivia. for instance, i gave them the following hint: this song was the first ever video played on MTV. well that got them excited. of course they had no idea who the buggles were but they found it interesting all the same.

cool thing #2: today we had our teen iron chef competition in which 4 teams competed to make the best smoothie. we provided them with all sorts of ingredients, and told them they would be judged on the following criteria:
1. taste
2. attractiveness
3. creativity
4. viscocity (we did this just to teach them a new word. it's a library!)
pretty much, instead of looking at the options and picking several ingredients that actually go together, most teams just took a bit of everything. which was ok, but after a while i had a kind of icky feeling like i was filled with smoothie. not pleasant. but a good time was had by all, and the winning team actually did make a good smoothie.

now i am exhausted again, but i must press on and bake cookies for tomorrow's rock star party. and then saturday i am off to honduras to visit my bolshevik. ahhhhh mi amor.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

the ultimate visual dictionary

i was going through our big ol' stack of donated books, and i came across this visual dictionary. now, i love it that people want to donate books to us. it's the thought that counts, and that is very thoughtful. oh shucks. but it is important to remember dear blog readers that "donating to the library" should not be synonymous with "throwing out the trash." i don't need your outdated encyclopedias, archaic textbooks, or old national geographic magazines (unless they have cool pictures for collages) .

now, there are several key ways (beyond looking at the publication date) to see if a reference book is outdated. does it make mention to such modern labor-saving devices as computers, cell phones, or the internets? (have i ever told you the story of my grandfather's old dictionary from the 40s that listed the definition for computer as "one who computes." see? useless.)

anyhoo, upon looking up the word "computer" in the index of this book i happened across an entry for "clitoris." say what?! i thought this was a kids book. well ... i had to check it out. get your mind out of the gutter, dear blog readers, it was totally clinical. although, surprisingly unclear if i wasn't already quite familiar with that portion of human anatomy.

alas, we shan't be adding this book to the collection. why? not because of a clitoral pictoral. but because in the "visual definition" of a computer, there is detailed depiction of an external CD-ROM player. seriously people, what am i supposed to do with that?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Gidget Bubble Butt hearts Buttercup Lizard Buns

yesterday we had our captain underpants party. we've been having crazy theme parties every week for the kids. we typically get about 100 participants each time. it is absolute chaos. but the kids like it.

anyway, at this party we made capes and silly flip books. then we played games involving tossing a pair of tidy whities into a toilet bowl or hot potato using rolls of toilet paper. but my favorite thins we did, was the captain underpants name change game. i must give credit where credit is due, this was totally the idea of my fab librarian partner in crime. she printed out the algorithm (found below) and as each child entered the party we figured out their new name and gave them a name tag with said silly name on it. if you cannot guess from the title of this post, i am none other than Gidget Bubble Butt.

anyway, it was quite amusing to announce these silly new names to the kids as they entered. one little girl came up to me and told me her name. i declared "your new name is Buttercup Banana Breath"
"no," she said quietly, "my name is christina" (names have been changed to protect the innocent).
"i know," i said, "but your new name for the party is Buttercup Banana Breath."
"my name is christina."
we went through this a couple times and finally a little girl behind her explained in spanish that we were giving out fun new make believe names ... and thus Buttercaup Banana Breath took her name tag and wore it with pride. the end.

To Make Your Own Captain Underpants Name:

Use the first letter of your first name to determine your new first name:
A = stinky B = lumpy C = buttercup D = gidget E = crusty F = greasy G = fluffy H = cheeseball
I = chim-chim J = poopsie K = flunky L = booger M = pinky N = zippy O = goober P = doofus
Q = slimy R = loopy S = snotty T = icky U = dorkey V = squeezit W = oprah X = skipper
Y = dinky Z = zsa-zsa

Use the first letter of your surname to determine your new middle name:
A = diaper B = toilet C = giggle D = bubble E = girdle F = barf G = lizard H = waffle I = cootie
J = monkey K = potty L = liver M = banana N = rhino O = burger P = hamster Q = toad
R = gizzard S = pizza T = gerbil U = chicken V = pickle W = chuckle X = tofu Y = gorilla
Z = stinker

Use the last letter of your surname to determine your new surname:
A = head B = mouth C = face D = nose E = tush F = breath G = pants H = shorts I = lips
J = honker K = butt L = brain M = tushie N = chunks O = hiney P = biscuits Q = toes R = buns
S = fanny T = sniffer U = sprinkles V = kisser W =squirt X = humperdinck Y = brains Z = juice

Friday, August 7, 2009

a budding romance OR i like to party

a man, tall dark and handsome, walks into the library (have you heard this one?) he's asking for Oz on dvd. i tell him we don't have it, as i am aware that we don't own any tv shows on dvd at this particular branch. then he repeats it like i am hard of hearing or maybe retarded.

guy: oz ... it was on hbo.
me: yes. i know what oz is. we don't have it here.

then he asks me if i can look at other branches for him. so i look around and it seems like the seasons he's looking for are all lost and stolen. this is what happens with popular dvds. i suggest that he go to one of our larger libraries that appears to have the dvds on the shelf.

guy: [staring at me all creepy without saying anything]
me: yeah, so ... sorry about that. you should really just try that other library.
guy: [strange blank stares]
guy: do you ever go into manhattan?
me: um ... sometimes. [fiddling with papers on my desk, knowing where this is going]
guy: yeah. they have good clubs there.
me: i guess.
guy: you go out there to party, right? [nods head in creepy fashion like he's picturing something very enjoyable in his mind]
me: eh.
guy: yeah you look like the type. you like to party.
me: hmmm.
guy: you married?
me: no, but i am in a relationship. (if only the bolshevik would make an honest woman of me)
guy: with someone?
me: yeah (no, i am in a relationship by myself. duh.)
guy: you have beautiful eyes.
me: yeah so you can just try that other library then.
guy: [more extra creepy stares]
me: [stares at computer and prays guy leaves]
guy: i guess i'll be going then
me: good luck

why? i ask you. why?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

que pasa

oh dear blog readers, i am lucky if there are any of you left out there. it is quite the shame how i have forsaken you. so what's been going on?

we've had a crazy busy summer here at happy shiny new library. there are no less than a gajillion children here and it is quite overwhelming. we have weekly theme parties where we typically have attendance of about 100. i am quite looking forward to our "rock star" party next week where we will play playstation karaoke. yay! we've made some awesome crafts, had a videogame day, had an author visit. good stuff.

you may or may not know that the bolshevik has absconded to honduras as bolsheviks often do. he is studying the spanish and i am quite jealous because
1. i would like to live in honduras for a month and have hondurans do my laundry.
2. i really need to improve my spanish speaking abilities so that i can better communicate with the patrons of happy new shiny library.

so today i am cataloging some of the spanish easy reader books. for those of you who are unfamiliar, easy readers are books meant for K-2nd grade kids and typically only have a few easy words per page, often accompanied by big pictures. so now i am reading the spanish easy readers in hopes to improve my spanish. i have learned about the life cycle of a bear, or an oso as it is called en espanol. i have learned how to get ready for school. soy listo para ir a la escuela! but my favorite is this book about telling the truth (shown above). now i wish i could get a picture of this first page ... there are about 5 kids, all on scooters, and they have their arms crossed and are making very angry faces. they're like a little gang out 7 year olds. very intimidating. and in big block letters next to them it says DECIMOS LA VERDAD! that's right. this gang only tells the truth and all you liars out there better watch our of you will feel their scooter wrath.

and that's my day here at la biblioteca.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

belize adventures days 4 and 5 summary

how late is this post? SO late.

here's the gist ... day 4 was my birthday and we spent the morning at mayan ruins. nothing says "turning 31" like mayan ruins. we wound up buying a full day tour so after the ruins we return to the hotel for lunch and then our driver returns to take us cave tubing. i use the term driver loosely. don't be too impressed. it was just some dude in a beat-up van.

we are taken to these caves that have rivers running through them and we sit in tubes while we leisurely bob along inside a huge cave. it was pretty cool. and we had little headlights like miners.

then on the way back we have our THIRD transportational break down. our little van just up and died on the highway. so then it's me and the bolshevik and our driver standing around on the side of the road. we're at least 45 minutes from the hotel so there's no hope of being rescued quickly. so we're making small talk with our driver and then i see a little shack down the road that seems to be selling refreshments. so i get some chips and sodas (and a water for our driver) and the bolshevik takes some pictures and in the end we're having a fine time on the side of the road.

then our driver flags down a pick-up truck coming from the opposite direction of our hotel and tells us to get in. he says he'll wait for a tow. so we get in this pickup truck and there's an older man driving, then his wife in the passenger seat holding a baby, then an even older woman who didn't talk much, and two more kids (about 7 years old or so) in the back. so we squeeze in and all the kids are piled up on top of various adults, and they're showing us their various toys and balloons. turns out they're coming from a carnival. needless to say, this was a bit awkward. the bolshevik and i exchange glances trying to say "who the hell are these people?"

we make small talk telling the gentleman about what sights we've seen and how much we like belize, etc etc. about 20 minutes into the conversation i ask them if they live in san ignacio, which is the town we were staying in. "we live in the hotel!" the man says, "it's my hotel!" if you didn't pick up on this plot twist, we had been picked up by the owners of the hotel while they were having a day with their grandkids. so then we tell them how nice the hotel is and what a lovely time we're having despite our ride breaking down. we ask them for a restaurant recommendation, and the bolshevik adds "it's miss dewey decimal's birthday. we wanted to go somewhere nice." and then there were many ooohs and ahhs about it being my birthday and they asked if we wanted to stop for ice cream. as much as the bolshevik and i love ice cream we kind of wanted to get back at this point. so they gave us several names of places, even offering to call several establishments for us to make sure they were open that evening. they were super nice.

so we get back and have a little lie down in the hammock and take showers and all that. then we go to the lobby and our driver is back and he offers to drive us to dinner. isn't that sweet? so we have a lovely dinner in this little local place. then we go to a nearby bar and chat with some locals. when they find out it's my birthday they make me a long island iced tea, since i had told them i'm from long island. the bolshevik has something called a "panty ripper" which is supposed to alleviate women from the burden of panties. we make a quick stop at the casino where my man wins about $15 and then we head back to the hotel for late night drunken pool antics. all in all, it was an excellent birthday.

the next day, the final day of our trip, we go to caves branch river for the "black hole drop tour." we drive into the jungle and pull up to this beautiful lodge in the middle of all sorts of lush wildllife. we are rushed onto a tour bus (we were a bit late) and are taken on a hiking trek into the jungle. we do a pretty intense hike for an hour and then we get to the top of a mountain that has a huge sinkhole in the center.

now, i knew we'd be "dropping" into a "black hole" but i really had no idea what that entailed. tuns out we are harnessed up, and we are supposed to lower ourselves off the mountain and down the 350 foot drop to the bottom of the gorge. i am a gal who likes adventure but i will not lie to you dear blog readers. i was terrified. it had been raining so the rocks were all muddy and slick. the bolshevik goes first, slipping a bit on the rocks and scaring me even more. he makes it to the bottom (or so i am told because there's no way to actually see what's going on off the side of the cliff) ... and then it is my turn.

i am strapped in and i start slowly backing up off the side of the cliff. i get to the very very edge of the ledge and then i am paralyzed with fear. my feet are slipping off the rocks and i have no where to go now. it's just open air. i look up the young belizean man who is lowering me down and i say, "no! i've changed my mind! i don't want to do this!"
"it's okay," he says. "just calm down. take a minute to relax. you can do it."
"just stay there for a moment. you're almost there. this is the worst part. take your time."
and then he began to pull me up and i clung for dear life onto the mountain, scrambling back up to safety.
i might want to mention that there was another couple with us and they had to witness this fiasco. i looked at them and said, "good luck!"
the two of them went, and when the girl was halfway down she shouted up to me "it's not that bad once you get off the mountain!"
so i decide to try again, realizing that i would not be able to live with myself if i don't do this, and that i cannot make these nice men hike back down for hours when i can get to the bottom in a matter of minutes.

so i go it again ... and again i make it to the very very end of the ledge and i am paralyzed and i look up to the nice belizean man and i tell him i don't know what to do and he explains to me i just have to step off the mountain now. oh, that's it? just step off the side of a mountain. no biggie.

so i step back off of the mountain ... of course the harness grabs me and then i am sitting in the harness like it's a little hanging seat and then it really was kind of nice. so i slowly lowered myself down the mountain passing by tree tops and flowering vines and it was all quite lovely. i make it to the bottom and i am beaming with pride that i was able to face my fear and do this. i run over to the bolshevik shouting "i did it! i did it!" and he looks at me and says, "yeah ... good thing you did or you wouldn't have been representin' brooklyn." ahhh the bolshevik, always looking at the bigger picture.

we hiked for several more hours. by the end we were exhausted and covered with dirt and bug bites. it looked like we had been through a war. we got back to the hotel and rinsed off and then lounged by the pool drinking tequila sunrises.

dinner was served buffet style and everyone at the hotel ate together. we wound up sitting with a few older couples. one guy introduces himself as ian and i remember that i saw a sign that the hotel was owned by a man named ian. someone at the table asks "are you the ian anderson?" and i realize that we are dining with the hotel owner and his wife. now, suddenly the conversation goes towards jethro tull and i put two and two together that ian anderson is a member of jethro tull. how cool to be in a rock band and then build a hotel in the jungle. we chat about nyc and ian tells us how much he loves katz deli and a lovely time is had by all.

when we arrive back in nyc i tell everyone how we met ian from jethro tull. "was he the flutist?" people ask. and i tell them i have no idea. eventually, i retell this story in the presence of the bolshevik and he interrupts me. "he wasn't in jethro tull," he says, "he just had the same name as the flutist from jethro tull." so it turns out i had been spreading all sorts of lies about staying in a hotel owned by a member of jethro tull.

and that was our vacation to belize. repeat ... we did not meet any of the members of jethro tull.

the end.


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

what you've all been waiting for

oh yes, it is howler monkey video time.

(in the beginning of this video you can hear our knowledgeable guide, robert, "rile up" the alpha male by making monkey sounds)

Monday, June 29, 2009

great crafts ... less funding

this is the last week before summer reading truly begins. we'll be having about 3-4 programs a day and it will be complete and utter chaos. in this calm before the storm we're getting everything ready, and i decided to make a Gock prototype. Gocks are goth sock puppets, and we will be making them with the teens. i've heard about gocks for years now and i've always wanted to make them. i'm pretty pleased with the way mine turned out, and it was quite cheap to do.

i was able to buy a couple of 6 packs of socks at the dollar store for about $4 each (which is a good deal since that's 12 sock puppets per pack. i bought socks in black and turquoise). then, i used several buttons to make the eyes (we have a whole load of buttons just lying around). i purposefully used different sizes to give it a "freaked out" kind of look. i used a shell for the nose (which we also just have lying around), then i glued on a couple of feathers for eye brows (feathers purchased from oriental trading). i made a mohawk out of funky yarn that was also purchased at the dollar store (for only $1 per skein!) then i made a choker necklace out of some trim i got for free from materials for the arts. i wanted to goth it up a bit more so i used safety pins to make an eyebrow piercing and a tongue piercing (tongue is made out of felt). all these items were attached using a glue gun, but they could be sewn on or glued with craft glue.

admit it, this is a pretty awesome gock. you know you're jealous.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

belize adventures day 3: monkeying around OR don't pee on a leaf and tell me it's raining

we take our final boat ride to the mainland, which makes me very happy since the whole suffering- from-various-forms-of-motion-sickness thing is getting quite old.

it had been our intention to do to something called Taste of Belize, which was supposed to be a festival/competition celebrating the various foods of belize. however, due to the nausea issues we had been having, we thought maybe tasting a whole bunch of exotic food wasn't the best idea for the time being. so instead we picked up our rental car and headed off to the community baboon sanctuary. (we pass a library shown below. figured i'd mention it since i'm a librarian and all.)

the baboon sanctuary is actually a sanctuary for howler monkeys, which people in belize refer to as baboons. go figure. so we're walking in the woods and our guide is explaining different cures that can be found from various plants and trees in belize. apparently, belizean wildlife is extremely useful. this plant cures collick and this tree's bark cures rashes from the poisonwood tree and this ant's body can be used to sew clothes (no joke, we saw it in action and everything). then he shows us this little plant and he tells us that moms make their teenage daughters pee on the leaves of this plant and if the leaf changes color then the girl is pregnant. well i now i've heard everything. that is so much more effective than killing a rabbit.

the bolshevik and i exchange knowing glances at this point, as we had both kind of been wondering if maybe my nausea was not motion-sickness-related (spoiler alert: it was in fact motion sickness combined with dehydration and being too god damned hot). so i rip off a leaf and save it for later.

finally we see a monkey family and our guide explains that instead of fighting for territory male howler monkeys will actually just have a sort of "howl-off" and whichever monkey can howl the loudest wins, and the loser will be banished from monkey society. how progressive and non-violent! i'm waiting for the video from the bolshevik where you can hear our guide pretending to be a howler monkey and getting the actual monkey quite worked up. man he was loud. so alpha male.

we drive to our next stop, san ignacio, making a quick stop over at the belize zoo for ice cream. the bolshevik is almost scratched by a puma, but luckily very shoddy fencing protects him.

we get to our hotel and it is high on a hill overlooking the town of san ignacio. we have our own little hut with a thatched roof and a screened in porch (with hammock. oh how i heart hammocks so!).

we begin to get ready for dinner, and then i promptly take out my leaf and pee on it. i look at the leaf and wonder, how long must i hold this pee-soaked leaf? will results happen instantly? i should have asked our guide for more information. after about 30 seconds i decide the leaf looks exactly the same, except wet. so i flush it, confident that i am not knocked up.

then we have dinner and cocktails at our hotel restuarant which is beside a lovely pool. after dinner we swim in the pool and act silly. thus concludes the third day of our vacation.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

summer's here and the time is right for awesome YA programs

i'm going to take a short break from boring you all with the details of my vacation, to bore you all with the details of my summer programs ...

in addition to being the children's librarian, i am also in charge of young adult (YA) programs over the summer. this is fine by me since i heart working with the teens. so much angst. love it. i'm hoping that my awesome awesome YA programs will be so wildly successful that we will continue YA programming throughout the rest of the year. so here are some of the fab things i have planned:

first i've got some awesome craftiness up my sleeve. notice left my "second generation" prototype duct tape wallet. this wallet was made solely out of duct tape, using classic silver, black and purple. pretty cool no? it has a pockets for bills as well as smaller pockets for credit cards.

my next fabulous feat of craftastic-ness is this journal made out of a discarded book. i went through the YA collection and withdrew all the books that haven't circulated in a while and set aside ones with cool covers (or in this case super cheesy covers). i sliced off the covers then cut looseleaf paper to the same size as said covers. then i went through all the layers with an awl, lining up holes at the top (this is actually more of a notepad then a journal), then tying it all together with twine. then i made some strands of beads to bling it up a bit. i'm calling this craft: destroy a book, make a journal. what teen wouldn't want to do that?

(i just want to do a shout-out to my stepsister who got me started on christopher pike's trashy horror novels ... challah!)

yesterday me and my lovely co-worker librarian went to this place called materials for the arts. pretty much, they're a non profit that collects various items from crafts to fabrics to computer parts to furniture, and they put it all in a big warehouse and allow non-profits who "do art" to come in and take whatever they want. the only catch is you have to write several thank you notes to whoever donated the supplies you take. not a bad deal if you ask me. my momma raised me right and taught me about the importance of thank you notes. anyhoo, i've been there several times and sometimes it is slim pickings, but yesterday it was filled with fabulous useful things. we got hula hoops and beach balls for indoor playground. we got all sorts of fabrics and bubble wrap for my "teen project runway: library edition" program. we got trims and notions and fake fur (part of a "bear repair kit," who knew?) for my "goth sock puppet" program. fun fun fun.

we're also having a twilight party which i am super excited about (even though i LOATHE the twilight movie) ... anyway we're going to have a trivia competition and make bella charm bracelets and ... this is my favorite ... i bought a poster of bella and edward and i'm going to cut bella's head out so the girls can put their face in there and take a picture with edward.

oh my clever cleverness knows no bounds.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

belize adventures day two: the "laidback island"

i wake up at 6 am and decide to walk along the beach and take pictures while the bolshevik is still sleeping. at 6 am belize is just "normal hot" instead of "ridiculous hot."

i get back to the hotel room and the bolshevik and i head out for our first belize breakfast. and that is when we discover the glory of fry jacks. mmmmm .... fry jacks. they take tortillas and deep fry them and then i think they add some powdered sugar. sooooo good. they're especially good with apricot jam.

after breakfast we decide to go parasailing, which is cool but not the best activity post-breakfast. it is at this time that i realize that i am just going from one form of motion sickness to another.

we take a little breather and sit out on the beach in the shade, then we go snorkeling again. we pet sharks and sting rays and we swim with a cute little sea turtle. then we swim around this coral reef and there are all these waves crashing and we're seriously bobbing up and down. now i never knew you could actually get sea sick from being in the sea without a vessel, but apparently ... you can. that's right, i got sea sick from swimming.

i'm secretly a bit happy when snorkeling is over, due to my sea sickness and all. but on the boat ride back our boat suddenly dies (transportational breakdown #2). luckily we are close enough to shore to drift over to a dock, where i promptly jump out of the boat and contemplate throwing up.

now, at this point it's like 4 pm and we're supposed to be taking the last ferry at 4:30 to this other island called caye caulker. our tour guides keep telling us that caye caulker is "really laidback." which makes me wonder what could possibly be more laidback than this little island that is 5 blocks long and has no cars.

so our tour guides call another boat, which picks up our luggage and seriously speeds us to the dock where the ferry is leaving from. as we approach we see that the ferry has already left the dock, and is on it's way into open water. so our boat just speeds up even more and then our boat blocks the ferry and our guides tell them they have to let us on. then they take our luggage and throw it onto the ferry through this little window. then they point to the little window and say "get in." so we actually had to climb out of our boat and then through this little window of the ferry. and of course we tumble inside the ferry to a boatload of people wondering who these crazy tourists are climbing through the window. it's all very exciting.

when we get to caye caulker there are a bunch of "taxis" waiting at the dock. and by taxis i mean golf carts. they ask us if we need a ride, which is rather absurd since the island is less than a mile long and the ferry lands smack in the middle of it. we can only be 1/2 a mile at most away from anywhere else. we tell them the name of our hotel and they inform us that it's "to the left" and we should walk along the beach until we see it. so we walk along this little sandy beach path along the water, and i'm towing my little wheely suitcase behind me. then i realize that this is actually a "street" on the map, and i begin to understand what they mean by "laidback."

we get to our hotel (shown left) and it is super cute and i immediately lie down because yet again i am on the verge of puking. after a little rest we decide to explore caulker and have some dinner.

i feel much better on the walk over and soon we are on the "main street" of caulker. the main street (there are only 2 real "streets") is a big dirt road with lots of cute little shops and restaurants and wild dogs running around and people selling little tropical animals carved out of wood.

we find a cute place to eat that has a view of the water and i quickly find out that sitting somehow causes my motion sickness to flare up. poor bolshevik. he's such a trooper for putting up with me. i rush through dinner and then go outside to walk around and get fresh air, even though the restaurant is in the open air. the bolshevik meets me and again as soon as i'm up and about, i feel much better. so i immediately buy us some ice cream. it is at the point that the bolshevik and i make a vow to eat ice cream every day of our trip.

on the walk back to the hotel we discuss potential activities. we can either go to a reggae bar or we can drink bailey's on hammocks on the dock in front of our hotel. now, the bolshevik is a big fan of reggae and i really wanted to go and experience local flavor with him, but i was NOT well. so i ask the bolshevik, "do you mind if we just drink on hammocks?" to which he replies, "i don't need to go to a reggae club. there's reggae clubs back home. but there are no hammocks back home."

and that is why i heart the bolshevik.

even though i am slightly fearful of hammock-induced motion sickness, we grab the bottle of bailey's that the bolshevik so cleverly puchased in the airport while i was puking post-airplane, and we walk down the dock and lay in hammocks and look at stars. and all is finally peaceful and calm on the laidback island.

and thus concludes day two in belize.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

belize adventures - day one: i fell in love with san pedro

did you even know i went to belize for my birthday? well, i did.

we arrive at the airport for our 6 am flight and at the check-in kiosk we are alerted that we can upgrade to first class for only $100 a person. now i love a deal, especially if it is offered to me by a computer. so i promptly upgrade us to first class, despite the bolshevik's grumblings that i am a "class traitor," as he puts it. really. am i not in a class of my own?

once through security we sit at our gate and watch the news on tv. the big story is that there was an earthquake in honduras, which is near belize. near it. sort of. and i tell you, no sooner than we watch it on the news at 5 am, i get an email from my grandmother warning me of the dangers of going to belize post-earthquake. she advises me to speak to an airport official about potential safety hazards, as if airline personnel are now seismology experts.

in first class the boshevik is completely unimpressed with large seats and omlettes. communists. go figure. i take a nice xanax induced nap.

sadly, by the time we get to belize i am feeling a bit queasy. i blame this on the second leg of our flight when we flew economy. once we are through customs i ever so daintily throw up in the ladies room. classy!

then we take a cab to the water taxi that will take us to san pedro. this is where we experience our first of many transportational breakdowns. we're on this little ferry with about 20 other people crammed in, it's 95 degrees out or something, and every five minutes the boat dies in the middle of the ocean, rocking back and forth and back and forth. needless to say i am not happy.

then we notice this odd couple: a strapping australian man in his late 30s and a more dowdy american woman in her mid to late 50s. the australian man is a self-proclaimed boating expert, and has all sorts of advice for how to get the motors to run. the bolshevik and i debate about what kind of gold digger he might be. but i digress. this stopping and starting, rocking and swaying goes on for about an hour until we finally make it to san pedro.

we walk about a block or two down the main cobblestone street and find our hotel. the bolshevik stands on the balcony looking out at the beach as i curl up in the bathroom tossing my cookies for the second time in one morning (no i am not pregnant).

after a bottle of water and a short nap i am ready to face san pedro. turns out, it's beautiful there. it's all colorful buildings and cute bars and restaurants and bikes and golf carts in the street. the whole thing is about 4 blocks long, so within a few minutes we have quickly explored the whole thing.

strolling around eating ice cream (chocolate banana, with actual banana chunks!), we discuss potential activities. oh, and did i mention that it is seriously %&@#ing hot in belize? ridiculously hot. like, constantly drenched in sweat hot.

so we pass this pavillion of sorts and there are these guys selling tours, and i stop and chat with them and i'm all "we're from new york, oh yes belize is lovely ..." and the bolshevik just keeps walking. "what's wrong with your boyfriend?" the tour guy asks me. "we won't bite."
"oh," i explain, "he's from brooklyn. he doesn't trust friendly people." and then i book us a night-time snorkeling tour.

so we take this boat with a few other people to a marine reserve. now, when i hear that we're taking a boat somewhere, i assume we are actually going to a place. but instead the boat just stops in the middle of the ocean. at night. and i turn to the bolshevik and say "don't leave me!" did anyone see the movie Open Water? terrifying. anyway, we're given little waterproof flashlights and we swim around in the middle of the ocean and we see eels and sting rays and little tropical fish. it's pretty cool. and soon it's really dark and i'm swimming around and i notice that where i'm swimming it's really really dark without my flashlight, and then all of a sudden i see a motor and i realize i'm swimming into the bottom of the boat. oops.

we make it back to shore and have dinner at a cute little restaurant on the beach. and thus ends our first day in belize.

Friday, May 22, 2009

show and tell bunnies: a frightful tale (spoiler alert!)

sometimes we get donations here at the library. usually they are crap that no one would ever want. but i've noticed that here at happy new shiny library, we actually get good donations of books that children would actually want to read! it really is a little slice of heaven here.

anyway, so going through some donations i came across this book. it was in excellent condition and i thought that it looked like a nice little story about the stress that is too often induced by show and tell.

but in fact this book is highly revolting! let me explain it to you ...

so this kid who is actually a bunny is buckling under the pressure of show and tell. it's fierce competition and he needs to bring in something good. but sadly he's got a whole lotta nothing. so he goes into his basement and he finds this weird lopsided silky ball. not interesting in and of itself. then he comes up with the plan to put the ball in a box, so no one can see what it is and then they just have to touch it and try to guess what it is. much like that haloween party game where you pass around a bowl of grapes in the dark and try to convince people they're really eyeballs. ah, genius! you have taken something boring and made it intriguing. very clever indeed.

everyone at show and tell thinks this is just fab. one girl exclaims, "ohh, it feels soft like velvet" (that's what she said). sadly though, by the time lunch rolls around the excitement of the silky ball wears off and now people are talking about some other newfangled show and tell item. ah, fame is a fickle friend.

but wait! all is not lost! when the bunny children return back to class they find something is amiss. when they go in for the big reveal to see what the mysterious object in the box was, it turns out that the silky ball is gone. what?! yes, now it is just a box full of spiders. say what?! yeah, it's a box full of effing spiders. the mysterious silky ball was actually a big old sac of spider eggs.

what happens next? do they recoil in horror? do they all scream like little girls, "ahhh, i touched a ball of spiders!" and run away scarred for life. no. they are thrilled. they're all "ooooh. ahhhhh. spiders." and then the teacher teaches an inspired lesson on spiders and thanks bunny boy for bringing in the best show and tell item ever. the end.

um, last i checked it was NOT COOL to bring a box of spiders to school (or the public library. don't get any ideas) this is more revolting than narcoleptic veterans.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

am i a swine floozie?

so there have been swine flu outbreaks all over our fair city, forcing several of the local schools to close. now, i am off to belize in less than two weeks and the LAST thing i need is an outbreak of the swiney flu. in response to this we have canceled some of our programs that are more "hands on," we have a barrier up by the desk so the kids can't hang all over us, we're using lots of hand sanitizer, etc etc etc.

then i thought that since the kids are out of school we should put out some stuff to entertain them (please read: keep them away from us) so i printed up some word searches about spring and dinosaurs and astronauts. and then, just for fun, i printed up one about germs. is that wrong? who doesn't want to search for the words like "virus" and "infection?" nonstop fun.

anyway, as strict as i have been about germ warfare i fell victim to cuteness today. this dad came up to me with this super shy little girl hiding behind him. and he told me that he and his daughter were here for the first time yesterday and that his daughter instantly recognized me today because she had seen me "clapping and singing" (at story time) on monday. and then he said that his daughter would really like to hug me, and then he politely asked, "would you mind please giving my daughter a hug?" how can you resist that? i hugged that little girl damnit! she was so freakin cute. and she liked my clapping!

so if i get the swine flu i have no one to blame but myself. i obviously have no self-restraint.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

why have i forsaken you?

oh dear blog readers, you have been so faithful to me and yet here i am such a fickle blogger now. oh the shame of it all! why is this so? well, for one i don't have much to complain about anymore. so that's a big chunk of material lost. and then, i am so busy with the children of happy new shiny library that i really cannot blog on the job. which of course i would never do as it would be "time stealing" and is completely reprehensible. and lastly, with most of my writing energies being turned to my novel, i just don't have the passion for the old blog that i used to. le sigh.

but here are some updates for you all before i bid you adieu ...

i rode 25 miles out of the 42-mile 5 Borough Bike Tour. i would have made it the whole way except it was raining pretty bad and at about mile 15 i started to come down with a cold. by mile 20 or so i was completely miserable, and was also realizing that i would soon be near my neighborhood an could easily just go home. so at mile 25 i took a detour to the lovely peter pan bakery and got myself tea and crullers. (i did not know this, but i am actually such a skilled biker now that i can drink tea while riding!) then i proceeded home and got into my pajamas post haste.

now, i was riding the whole time with ms bitchcakes (who made it to the very end!) and when i told her my donut and pj plan she asked me if i was sure i wanted to quit, because i may regret it. while i truly appreciate her concern, i must say that leaving the bike tour was one of my best decisions. it was such a good decision that it made me ponder and recollect my other great decisions in life. here they are (in chronological order):

1. sneaking out of a "dry" lip sync party - my ex fiance and i had been invited to a lip sync party, which would have been fun until we learned too late that there was NO ALCOHOL. we felt trapped and scared (it was terribly awkward being sober and trying to socialize with lip synchers). within minutes of arriving we were dreading ever coming. eventually i came up with the briliant plan that we should pretend that we had forgotten something in the car, and then drive off into the sunset never to return. and once we were in the safety of the car, making our way to a fine drinking establishment, i turned to him and said, "fiance, that was the greatest decsion we have ever made." he wholeheartedly agreed.

2. leaving my ex-fiance - this was a very difficult and painful decision. but i have never regretted it, which i think is the sign of excellent decisions. (he did not wholeheartedly agree with this one)

3. moving to brooklyn - who wouldn't want to live in fab brooklyn? but i pretty much left my whole life behind to start anew, so it wasn't so easy.

4. leaving the bike tour

so since that great decision, i have been in bed for 3 days with a very bad cold. but! silver lining! i have had a serious decrease in appetite and i have lost a couple pounds. not to mention that in my post-weight-watchers non-diet diet, i have also lost a couple pounds ... putting me at 138.6! not too shabby.

and now my dear bloggers, i must return to my bolshevik (oh yeah, the bolshevik is back).

Thursday, April 23, 2009

earth day recap

no those are not balls of alien moss. those are my earth krispie treats! they're amazingly similar to rice krispie treats, except they're dyed blue and green and balled into earth shapes. they might look questionable but they tasted good. oh, i am so clever.

so yesterday we had our earth day party, and i was all by my lonesome handling a room full of 40 something kids with only the help of a few teen volunteers. yikes. but it was cool, and we only had one minor injury.

first we played a game called Litter Pick Up, in which the kids must sit in a circle and inside the circle is all sorts of litter: plastic bags, paper towel rolls, etc. then when they hear the word 'go' they must pick up as much litter as possible without leaving their spot. they got surprisingly excited by this and soon utter chaos erupted. i didn't see what happened, but one little girl must have gotten slightly trampled or something and she started crying. then one of my more industrious volunteers gave her a sticker and sent her on her way. game over.

then we played a game called Recycling Sort in which the kids had to stand behind a line and then throw recyclable materials into the proper bins. this was pretty cool and since only one kid was throwing stuff at a time and the rest were lined up behind the line, there were no injuries.

and finally we made a craft, which i don't have pictures of. but it was really cool. basically, we cut out the center of paper plates and decorated it like the earth. then we decorated the outer part of the paper plate and hung them together to make a sort of mobile.

and that was our earth day party.

today we have our last installment of indoor playground. we'll be playing hopscotch. i've had to cancel indoor playground because the kids actually like it TOO much and get totally out of control. maybe i'll bring it back in a few months if they promise to behave.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

portraits of miss dewey decimal

as you know, i don't typically post pictures of myself ... need to keep a low profile from all you adoring fans and such. but i couldn't help posting this lovely portrait a little girl did of me. isn't it good? i mean, that looks a lot like me. and i love the detailing on the sweater.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

stealing candy and doing kids homework

it has come to my attention that a certain manager of a certain library keeps candy in her office. and not just run-of-the-mill sucking candies ... we're talking quality chocolate. now, i think it is safe to say that it is NOT a good idea to steal candy from your boss. but sometimes it's so busy here and there are so many kids asking me question after question after question. a girl just needs a miniature dark chocolate krackel bar. is that so wrong?

now, for weeks i saw the candy day after day after day. but i did not touch it! then, one day one of the pages offered me a hershey's kiss and i knew it came from said office stash. are we allowed to eat the candy? is it there for us to grab as needed? how do you even broach such a subject.

so ... the other day i was walking past the office and no one was inside and i stole a piece of chocolate! oh the humanity. today, a co-worker was "covering" my desk while i was in a program, and i noticed she had a few pieces of the chocolate next to her. so i ask you, is this communal candy or what?

then, later i had a 3rd grader ask me for help with his homework. he kind of reminded me of my favorite kid from library in the hood. he had these fire prevention dittos that were WAY beyond his understanding. first they would give a scenario, most of them were rather complex, and then they would ask what should be done to prevent a fire. if that wasn't hard enough, then they asked if your solution involved removing 1. heat 2. fuel or 3. oxygen. this was really tough. and if you pour water on a fire are you removing heat or oxygen? aren't you kinda removing both? anyway, it got to the point where it was so difficult that i just started telling him what he should write, and which multiple choice answer he should circle.

but then. oh readers then i got a very bad feeling ... what if this kid catches on fire (as children often do) and he doesn't know what to do? so i repeated several times, "you know if you're in a fire you need to stop drop and roll, right?" and he said oh yes he learned about stopping dropping and rolling. so hopefully he and his family won't be killed by fire because of poor little ol' me. but really, this homework was ridiculous. there were THREE dittos of this.

i fear that my moral compass may be askew without my beloved bolshevik.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

stalin, the bolshevik and my glass baby

sometimes when i look kids' records up on the computer i am unclear as to what is their first name and what is their middle name. obviously it should go Last Name, First Name Middle Name. but sometimes it's in the wrong order. so when a young man came up to read down his fines and i looked up his record only to find it read smith, stalin frederick ... i could only assume that this was a mistake. i prayed that this child was really named frederick stalin smith (names have been changed to protect the innocent).

i know i am dating a commie and all, but really ... naming your child stalin? maybe that means something different in latino cultures that i am not aware of? but i digress. young stalin is off in a corner, reading a captain underpants book ...

as many of you may already know, my beloved bolshevik has set off for several weeks of world travel SANS everyone's favorite bibliophile, miss dewey d. so unfair. but before he left, i promised that i would email him my novel (in progress) so that he could read it on the plane on his way to the land down under. this may not seem like a big deal, but it kinda is ...

you see, many moons ago when i first started dating the bolshevik, he had asked me if he could read my novel. and i said, "oh no, you can't see it. it's my baby ... it's fragile." then the bolshevik, being the logician that he is, said that babies are not actually fragile. they're quite resilient. you can drop them even. (note to parents: do not hire the bolshevik as your babysitter) then i changed my stance, saying that my novel was fragile, like glass ... like a glass baby. and since that time i have been rather strict about not letting the bolshevik read my novel.

so last week when i was getting it all together for him i was quite curious to see just how much novel i actually had. well, lo and behold i have 40,000 words! typically, novels start at about 70,000 words. so this means that i am officially half-way done! you see, i've been telling people i'm about half-way done, but i thought i was lying. kind of like when you get so used to adding a half-inch to your height, that you forget you're not actually that height. not that i do that. i'm totally 5'7''. moving on! so it was exciting to see that i actually am half-way through, and not just lying to everyone.

in other news i've been riding my bike to and from work (about 11 miles round-trip) in hopes of returning to the long lost svelteness. there has been little progress on that front. grrrr.

ok, mr. smith came back and his first name is in fact stalin. crazy.

and that is my life.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

i am smart even though i am only mono--lingual

so there is this precocious child that often visits me in the library. now, this girl means well. she really does. and she is a bit ... oh how do you say it ... socially odd, so i feel bad for her and i genuinely try to be nice to her. i get the feeling i am one of the few people who talks to her. anyway, conversing with her is often a trying experience. patience does not always come easy to me. and the other day she started questioning me about my inability to speak fluent spanish.

girl: how come you don't speak spanish
me: well, i do speak some spanish (this is true! i studied spanish for years in our failing public school system!)
girl: oh really? what words do you know?
me: (getting annoyed) i can't tell you all the words i know.
girl: you should really learn more spanish.
me: it's not as simple as that.
girl: i can speak spanish.
me: yes, well that's very nice for you.

and so on. but i was starting to feel like she was accusing me of being less intelligent for not speaking perfect spanish. i happen to speak spanish very well when i am travelling and need a bathroom or want to know how much a trinket costs. once i even made a *cough* nefarious deal with the locals at a nightclub in spain. needless to say i started to get defensive and eventually banished her from my desk.

this has led me to comprise a list of phrases i consider to be "library spanish" that i will attempt to commit to memory. (thanks to my co-worker and alta-vista babel fish i was able to piece these together). now i have them on a word document which i keep open on my computer screen to be used as needed.

¿Usted regreso el libro?
You returned the book?

Le enviaremos algo en el correo cuando su libro está aquí.
We will send you something in the mail when your book is here.

El libro no está aquí.
The book is not here.

No puedo encontrar el libro.
I cannot find the book.

El libro esta perdido.
The book is lost.

Hábleles allá. dígales que no pude encontrar el libro.
Speak to them over there (them being the people at the Circulation Desk). Tell them i could not find the book

Hable con otra bibliotecario cuando ella regresa.
Talk to the other librarian when she gets back (to be used for situations needing comlipcated spanish phrases beyond my abilities).

No tiene que registrarse para los programas. Solo tiene que venir.
There is no registration for the programs. Just show up

the librarian who reads

now that i've been here at happy shiny new library for a while, i am getting the hang of things and the kids are growing accustomed to me. every week i do one storytime and one baby time. at first the kids didn't really dig my schtick, but i made a few adjustments and now they have warmed up to me.

the other children's librarian also does one storytime and one baby time, AND an additional toddler time. she is more of the "typical" children's librarian, and she is very comfortable singing cutesy songs and dancing around and being silly. i have improved on these fronts, but i still like to keep my storytimes and baby times book-oriented. i mean, that's why we're here, no? so i read 4 or 5 books to the older kids, and 1 book to the babies. part of the problem is that we get SO many kids for our programs, often 25-45 kids, so its hard to maintain control while reading them a book. it's like mutany could errupt at any moment if they are not completely entertained at all times. so it's easier to keep the program moving if you have a lot of songs and movement.

anyhoo, the other librarian was going to do a school visit and she was informed that a child had asked the teacher which librarian was coming. the teacher wasn't sure what she meant, and the child elaborated, "is it the librarian who dances or the librarian who reads?"

so there you have it. i am officially the librarian who reads. now, i appreciate this title because i do like reading. but i am also a pretty fab dancer. my facebook friends have even voted me "best dancer" using the rate my friends application. so even though i do not want to increase the amount of time i dance with the children, i am still a little perterbed that i am not the librarian who dances. but what can you do?