Thursday, December 20, 2007


This could just as easily be called "can't keep a secret." I'm just not good at waiting.
I know people who are perfectly capable of making the perfect purchase in July and waiting patiently until Christmas to present the present. I'm not one of them. When I find THE gift for the giftless I want to dance and prance and crow and get it immediately into the hands of the person so they can share my joy.
This is why I end up empty handed at Christmas. It's also why I have trouble understanding how all of these knitting bloggers can find things to talk about every day on their blogs. Aren't they committing precisely the faux pas of which I speak or don't any of the people they knit for actually read their blogs? I'm sitting here with my knitting in my lap (so I have something to do while I'm composing, doncha know) and it's all I can do not to tell you all about the perfect gift for a cajun baby.
Fortunately, Holly has her tree of life throw pillow already. I was her not so secret elf (it's hard to keep it a secret when you're the only one in the group who knits and the books might have been a rather strong hint as well, but what do you want from a librarian?) and since I"m making her a Lionbrand Nature in Natural afghan, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to make her a pillow to go with it. I used the free pattern for the tree of life sweater. In case anyone ever needs to know this, the tree of life section is the perfect size for a 10x10 inch square pillow form. I'm thinking of making myself the other Lionbrand tree of life afghan. Either that or I'm going to use the same technique they use to make myself a Great American Afghan without having to sew squares together. Not only am I avoiding swatching until I find a creative and original use for all those swatches, but I'm also constantly in search of ways to avoid sewing things together.
I may have to break down and take a class on it so I can feel more confident about it. That would open a lot of patterns up for consideration that I am assiduously avoiding in the meantime.

Monday, December 03, 2007

To Do List

Number one should be: Figure out what to put ON the to do list. It feels like things would all fall into place if I just knew what I had to do to accomplish it all. Actually, it should be more like an outline for a paper entitled

Life of Gonad
I. Get on Track with Diet and Exercise.
A. Go to Gym 4 days a week.
B. USE WW tools and follow the plan.

II. Get on Track with the Library
A. Hire a Great Youth Services Librarian
B. Make Change slooowly.

It's not the big bulletin items I have trouble putting into words or even into action. It's life's little details I keep stumbling over - the chocolate ice cream cake in the freezer that somebody has to eat. I know, why does somebody have to eat it? The birthday party's over. Ditch the cake. Sounds so easy when I tell someone else to do it, but even though no one else in the house will eat it, everybody else in the house will have something to say about me throwing away a perfectly good cake. Whoa. Epiphany happening. This is exactly the same problem I am having at work.

It's all the second guessers that are the stumbling block. In both places, my challenge in life is to get a whole group of people to buy into my plans and the way to do that is to make it our plans. Sounds wonderful. How the heck do I make it happen?

Note: If you were hoping for the answer to appear next, you're out of luck. Sometimes the only way to do it is to just start doing something and go from there. Baby steps. Sounds great, so why is my gut reaction (pun intended) to eat the rest of the cake so it won't be there to sabotage me tomorrow?

And in the meantime, one still has to shovel the end of the driveway because the snowplow came through and decide whether or not the two hour school delay means one should delay the opening of the library as well whilst ensuring that one arrives early enough one's self to salt and shovel the pathways to the library door, both for the staff and the patrons, and get the teen to school on time, and still plan things like a point friendly packed lunch. Then there's the staff member who is probably panicking right about now because her two part time jobs are going to run into each other because of the school delay, which means I should plan on doing her story time this morning and there's the other teen who is staying home sick today and oh yes, there's knitting tonight.

No wonder I have trouble with the big picture.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The librarian never rests

I'm at home.Brrring. Brrrring. "Hello."
"Hi is Mary there?"
"I'm sorry, you must have the wrong number."Brrring.
"Hi, is Mary there?"
"What number are you dialing, hon?"
"Insert my phone #."
"I'm sorry, hon, you must have the wrong number because there's no Mary here."
Chat with mom for awhile, then Brrrring.
"Hi, is this Mary Smith's number."
"No, this is Mrs. Librarian's number, but wait, I can give you Mary's number."
"Oh, is this Mrs. Librarian?"
"Yes it is."
"Okay, here you go XXX-XXXX."
"Thank you, Mrs. Librarian."
"You're welcome, hon."

It's really not that small a town.
"Mary" is my son's best friend's little sister. I'm left wondering how my number wound up next to Mary's name somewhere.

The town I grew up in is that small. When we were really little, we still had an operator who would connect you. My sister once picked up the phone at about age 2 and said "Hello," and a voice said "Suzanne Thompson (name changed to protect the guilty), hang up that phone right now." Scared her half to death. My Godmother was the operator.

If you dial the wrong number in Berne, the person who answers will be your 4th cousin twice removed and will probably recognize your voice.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Use the whole book or find a different one

I originally posted this on a librarian list, but it is relevent to my Idealism post from last year and expresses my feelings about the whole topic a little bit more clearly, if not necessarily more eloquently.

Two parents brought me books this week that their 11th grade sons are reading in English. One is on a "pick one of these 5 books" list, the other is required reading for the class. The first book is Water for Elephants. The second is Memoirs of a Geisha. Both have pretty explicit sex scenes. They wanted my opinion. Both parents were told by the school that the principal has read the books and approved them, that they have been approved by the school board, and that they are college level courses that therefore have more mature themes.

I had a similar issue with my own son last year with Ragtime, and I told both parents the same thing I told the teacher at the time. My problem isn't with the scenes in the book. My problem is that they admit outright that they don't discuss them. Um, in college they would. They'd talk about exploitation of women, both historically and today. They'd talk about how the language used pulls the reader out of the scene (the use of anatomically correct words in the middle of a striptease) to become a more critical observor of what's happening in it. Instead, they pretend the scenes don't exist and don't help the students deal with any emotions that might be evoked (like the teen who went home and told his parents he'd been learning about the meaninglessness of life (The French Lieutenant's Woman) and was now trying to figure out a painless way of ending it all).

What a great opportunity to have a school counselor come in and discuss the fact that things in books and the news can trigger emotions that can be confusing and talk about ways to deal with all of that. Instead, they just moved on to another book, totally oblivious to the impact that book had had upon this young man. I'm certainly NOT saying that they shouldn't have read that book. If they hadn't, the boy might not have gone to his parents in time to get help. But what about all the students who don't know where to turn when these things happen?

I don't want those parents to demand that the books be removed from the curriculum. I want them to demand that they be used to teach and discuss and open minds. Rather than hoping that most parents won't bother to read the books, I'd like to see the school invite the parents to be part of a book discussion held some evening so that they can see that the books do have something to offer besides lurid sex scenes.

I also told both parents that if the schools aren't discussing those scenes with their children (and they aren't - they tell them to turn the page if something disturbs them), they should do so themselves. What a great opportunity to share your own morals and outrage and sadness, etc., in a nonconfrontational, nonpersonal setting.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Knit Bits

I have to thank my friends for having lives and doing things like having babies and falling in love (not necessarily in that order). It gives me this lovely excuse for knitting adorable little baby things and lavish afghans. I probably come across as the most conceited thing alive when I show off my finished objects, but the truth of the matter is that I'm in awe of the designers who are cabable of creating and describing patterns that actually wind up looking okay when I'm finished with them. These are baby GG's presents (model not included). I really did try to lighten it up. I apparently had a foot fetish going here. Baby K has a plethora of hats. Who knows what I'll get stuck on with baby X.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Life and Death

Thursday was one of those classic life cycle days - a beautiful new baby (welcome, Georgia) came into the world and a very special friend (goodbye, Melanie) left it.
This loss was very hard, partly because it was sudden and unexpected, partly because she was only 45. I only saw her 3 or 4 times a year, but we always saved each other seats at our library meetings, and knit together.
I think she would have been annoyed by the timing. I can picture her standing in front of St. Peter, calmly pointing out that it was the middle of her summer reading program and did he realize the party was next week, and that she has 3 boys to send off to college this month, and she really wanted to finish just one more preemie hat. It's yet another thing that makes me doubt St. Peter's existence, because I can't imagine him standing firm in the face of Melanie's conviction that she should be returned immediately, especially if there were dirty dishes in the sink (although I bet there weren't).
I keep feeling like I should be able to call her and talk about the silly mistake they made.
I'll miss you, Melanie. Save me a seat.