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?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

a strange occurance at the bodega

i believe i have mentioned that i am not thrilled about the selection of bodegas in the immediate vicinity surrounding The Paradise. they are pretty "ghetto." not like the fabulous bodega run by kurds near my old apartment. but lately i've been going into this one ghetto bodega to get tea in the morning on my way to the bus. they know me, as i am the only white girl who goes in there. at least, i personally have never seen another white girl in there.

now, i'd like to put it out there that since working at library-in-the-hood, i have developed a decent tolerance to "hood antics." but even i was a little taken aback at what i witnessed this morning ...

i walk into the store and there is a man at the counter weilding a large knife at the guy behind the counter. they're chit-chatting in a jovial manner, so i quickly assume that they are friends. now, when i say weilding a large knife ... i'm not talking about some hunting knife or switch blade ... i am talking about some fancy asian style crazy curly cue filet your victim kind of knife.

"can i have a large tea with milk and one sugar?" i ask, as the man beside me says that the knife isn't sharp enough and that he would rather use a boxcutter because you could really tear into someone pretty easily with a boxcutter. then he slides the blade over his hand and exclaims, "oh wait, it IS sharp."

nice! as i am waiting for my tea, he tells me not to worry. i say, "that's cool, do what you gotta do."

then he tells me that he can't help but notice that i am very pretty. he asks me my age and i tell him i am the big 3 - 0. then he says that he is shocked and that he thought i was 18 or 19. i believe this must be because i decided to wear a barette in my hair today. takes decades off your age.

then he asks if i am married, and i tell him no but i am dating someone. he asks if i love him, and i say yes i do, hoping that this will soon put an end to our conversation. then he turns back to the counter guy, caressing his hand jokingly, saying "and i love this guy right here."

"oh yeah," i say, "i could tell by the way your waved your knife at him."

then we all have a good chuckle, and i get my tea and walk out the door, wishing everyone a good day.

and that was my morning.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


patron: habla espanol?
me: lo siento, solamente un poquito
patron: oh, um, i need help with my homework? the matematicas?
oooh! i know that one! that means math. i'm smart.
patron: do you know the pandas?
me: [silence]
so i'm thinking pandas are animals. not mathematics. did she mean pentagrams? like geometry or something? satanism? or maybe she meant polynomials? i don't remember what a polynomial is but i bet it's math. needless to say i am confused.
me: no, yo no se.
patron: (sigh, as if this is oh so taxing that i don't know about panda math) you don't have a book on the GED or something?
me: well yeah we have GED books.
and then i go get her a GED book and she seems quite satisfied. but i ask you, what the hell was that?

Friday, March 13, 2009

indoor playground - revisited

when making the calendar of events with the other children's librarian, i was given the option to create my own program. so i decided to bring back indoor playground. who doesn't love playing outdoor games inside? i ask you.

back in my grad school days, while living with miss peonys in albany, she had introduced me to this game called Kubb, an ancient swedish viking lawn game! i bet you didn't even know that swedish vikings played lawn games. i mean, c'mon people you can't just rape and pillage non-stop. sometimes you need to play some lawn games. anyway, the game is pretty basic ... you break up into two equal-ish teams. each team has 5 or so stout wooden blocks (or kubbs, if you will) that the other team try to knock down by throwing short wooden batons at said kubbs. whenever a team succeeds in knocking some kubbs down, these kubbs are added to the opposing teams side. get it? so the more you knock down, the more your opponent has to knock down at the next turn. so it goes back and forth a while, and is super fun i swear. the game ends when one team has knocked down all the other teams kubbs, and then successfully knocks down the big king kubb in the middle. KUBB!

so i thought to myself ... self, wouldn't it be fun to play kubb? but we certainly can't have children throwing around big wooden kubbs inside the library. that would be anarchy, even here in happy new shiny perfect library. so i devised a version of cube in which each team needs to knock down paper towel rolls by throwing small beach balls. it was pretty fun. although, i think the danger element of tossing around hunks of wood was lost slightly. but oh well. the kids dug it.
then we played a game called "steal the bacon," in which a paper towel tube was considered the "bacon" and the kids were broken up into teams and had to try to steal it. each player is given a number which corresponds with the number of an opposing teammate. when your number is called you run into the middle and try to steal the bacon. if you make it back to your team you get a point. if you are tagged by your opponent, the opposing team wins a point. this game is great for two reasons. 1) only two kids are running at once, so there is only slight chaos at any given time. and 2) the kids were endlessly amused by this, asking to play over and over and over again. and all i had to do was stand on the side and call out random numbers.
so what have we learned? we've learned that i can entertain large groups of children using only paper towel rolls.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

life in the fat lane

oh, it's so nice to be off weight watchers! the other night i went out to dinner with my beloved bolshevik and we shared an arugula salad with shaved parmesean cheese and pears! then i ate pasta with mushrooms! and then i had half a chocolate torte! yay!

then last night i had a night with the ladies where we drank wine and ate manchego cheese and pears and snacked on almonds and strawberries and had an assortment of italian pastries.

and do you know what? when i weighed myself this morning, i was still the same weight as i was when i was driving myself crazy with weight watchers only to lose three measley pounds! here, i've made a simple mathematical equation to express what is going on:

stay on weight watchers = very minimal weight loss = mental strife
eat regular healthy diet = very minimal weight loss = semi-happiness

Sunday, March 8, 2009

i am a quitter!

that's right, good people. i am a quitter. and it feels damned good. i have just officially quit weight watchers (although i still have log-in privileges until the end of the month). here's what i've been eating everyday:

breakfast -
1/2 cup kashi raisin crunch cereal with 1/2 cup lowfat soymilk
1/2 cup plain oatmeal with tbsp honey and cinnamon

lunch -
large spinach salad with mostly veggies plus one protein source (broiled fish, tuna, veggie burger, etc), no dressing
1 lowfat yogurt
1 piece of fruit

midday snack -
fiber one bar
1 piece of fruit
or carrot sticks

evening -
salad for dinner or other healthy option

evening snack -
air popped popcorn without butter
weight watchers english toffee ice cream bar

and that is it. that is all i eat. and then i weekends i splurge on things like brunch or maybe a slice of pizza or maybe some cake or maybe a real dinner at a restaurant. and i have been doing this since january 5th. and do you know where it's gotten me? i have been able to keep off a grand total of 3 pounds. 3 measely pounds!

and it occurred to me dear blog readers that maybe i should just go back to eating my normal healthy diet and possibly gain back these 3 pounds in exchange for living like a real person again.

so this weekend in celebration of the bolshevik's birthday i have eaten the following very very bad things:
1. fondue
2. fish and chips
3. pizza
4. half a milkshake
5. apple and cinnamon pancakes
6. lots o' booze

and you know what? it felt damned good.

Monday, March 2, 2009

happy birthday dr. seuss

oh today is dr. seuss's birthday. yay! and in anticipation for our dr. seuss party on friday i have been trying to figure out suessean crafts to make. and you know what, i couldn't find any patterns for making a cat in the hat hat. and then i found this pattern for a "really big hat." what is this bs? why would i want to have my kids make a "really big hat" out of a paper bag? that makes no sense. it looks like a pope hat! and we are certainly not celebrating the pope. i would be embarrassed to have my kids walk around in this. anyhoo, i created the fab hat shown here out of a paper plate, red construction paper, and white computer paper. not too shabby, no?

and in other news ... yes ... the library is open today. i am aware it's snowing out. obviously i had to go outside in order to get here. stop calling me and asking me if we're open. no need to rub it in people. and no one showed up to my story time. ho hum.