Wednesday, June 29, 2005

ooh la la ALA!

Burst into song "Chicago, Chicago!" Because it was everywhere! Welcome to Chicago, Richard Daley, mayor. We're glad you're here...Chicago, Mayor Richard Daley. Welcome to Chicago...Chicago Chicago Chicago. This is the city that had a worse reputation after the fire of 1870 something? (is it possible) than Pittsburgh during the Steel Era. (or is that Pittsburgh today?) Chicago is not the windy city b/c it blows there (though it is breezy). Chicago lobbyists went to Washington to lobby for the World Fair being in Chicago and they were so talk talk talk that the columnists said those guys from Chicago are windbags. Did I not say this blog was all about dispelling urban myths? Well, no, I never said that, but I have dispelled a few...Umm, if you read the link, you see that I have dispelled the myth of the myth, it really was based on the wind off Lake Michigan. Rice for that wedding, anyone?

My mom asked, so, are you glad you went? Well, I'll tell you this. Last time I came back from ALA, I had ideas, I was jumping, I thought this is great, I'm going to do all these things. This time, the best sessions I went to were things it would take ten years to unpack the theory. Maybe not ten, maybe not years, but this was not training, this was "professional development." And oh my, if libraries are your thing, you must go to this link--it describes some of the stuff they are doing in Europe--it reads like Italo Calvino. Now, I didn't go to the event where this was unveiled--no, not even close. But through the magic of the internet, I went to bloglines

[You wouldn't believe it, but "My kind of town, Chicago" just came on the "nostalgia" radio station I listen to.]

where they aggregate your RSS feeds for you--and I read my latest feeds from Jessamyn West's site,, where she linked to a theshiftedlibrarian, who mentioned the site. So, I'm not sad that I'm a librarian, I just see my job description over the sunset in a picture puzzle that is waiting for me to put together.

I heard David Sedaris, who was so funny! (descriptive words here that describe how funny he was) I heard Henry Winkler. He has written a series of children's books, and said that the curse of Marian the Librarian has been broken, that we embraced him when he was signing books yesterday, and that we are the best resource this country has....we gave him a standing ovation, what else could we do? I actually got up and asked him a question! (About a show for which he produced early episodes, my favorite Saturday morning show, Strange days at Blake Holesy High.) And he answered my question! It was my moment in the sun, or something, just very very cool. My roomie got a picture of me. Meanwhile, I have no idea if I have any pictures b/c I don't know if my camera got erased by the x-ray machines at the airport. Sigh. I took some nice ones, though, of the Chicago Tribune building, which has imbeded in its walls pieces of the Great Wall of China, a moon rock, bricks from various educational institutions...the list goes on. I also took pictures of the pool in the hotel...Johnny Weismuller, the Olympian and first movie Tarzan swam there. I took pictures of the mural on the back of the hotel, whales in the ocean.

There is so much more, but I'm beat.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Becoming my mom

I was thinking about my mother this morning, because I have become her, in the best ways (but that means in some not so lovely ways too, though I'd rather not uncover them)--I woke up at 7:50, got up, had breakfast on the porch, swept the porch, and (this is where my mom comes in) I pulled clover from the lawn. I just pulled a handful, but sitting there, I could remember a few years back when that was my mother's evening ritual, to sit on the lawn and pull clover. They have runners, and the trick is to get them at the root, not always an easy task. I thought, I like being my mother.

I remember at the time telling one of my co-workers at Barnes & Noble, that my mother's task of eradicating the lawn of clover was like Penelope unraveling the cloak she made for Odysseus--but I think that my poetry has proven wrong b/c my mother did get rid of large portions of clover and I think the clover didn't grow back. I read somewhere that working with dirt is good for your immune system--something about topsoil having all the I felt I was doing something for my lawn, something for my mother, and something for my health. Except I discovered that I really am allergic to grass, b/c it was freshly cut and I needed a tissue by the time I went back upstairs to shower.

I just finished a great book by Hilary Liftin, who wrote Dear Exile. This book is called Candy and Me: A love story. I picked it up on my summer vacation at Goodwill--I was drawn to the pink cover. The first few chapters were read, put down for later, but by the time I was half way through, I had to finish it. The book goes through different types of candy and the emotional significance they held for her, but it also was a memoir of her boyfriends up until her husband. I really liked it.

Today I went to one of my favorite libraries, a small township library on the way to work (at a larger library). At my library, I work downstairs and rarely go upstairs where the "grown-up" books and videos are. And I like a little anonymity--I'll go visit stores to visit friends who work there, but if I really want to browse, I'd rather go where I know no one. I got out The Firm, a pageturner if there ever was one, what my father calls an airport book (because you can get them at airport bookshops and they take about one long plane ride to read.) I also got a Grace Livingston Hill romance, the White Lady, and two others I wish I had a red dress, Mixed blessings, and In the drink. In the drink was recommended on a list of "if you liked Bridget Jones, read this..." What I never understand is why they don't make the lists alphabetical. Teachers seem to do this with summer reading lists too. I mean, if you take time to make a list, unless you are sorting it by topic, you might as well make it alphabetical so your user can just walk the aisles, list in hand. Ah the tight bunned librarian comes out!

Dinner break is over, time to get back to cataloguing. Tonight I get to check numbers, which I thoroughly enjoy...who knew that there was a specific number for Products of fibers and bristles (including brooms, brushes, mops). I think the DDC (Dewey Decimal Classification) is so cool! Gotta go!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

hump day

So I admit it--I'm a sucker for compilation discs. My latest aquisition is Good Clean Fun, Vol 2 of Target's idea of good music to dust, mop, scrub to. I bought it because it has one of my favorite songs that I feel never got enough play time, The Remedy, by Jason Mraz.

I really like soundtracks to movies, because you get a good mix of songs, some you might never have heard otherwise. We know the Beach Boys (we, the X generation) as singing, well, beach songs. But on the Almost Famous soundtrack, there is a fabulous song that I never would have pegged as by the Boys, Feel Flows.

The soundtrack to Home Alone is a great Christmas album. The only unfortunate bit is that John Williams recycled the theme music and used it for the Harry Potter movies. I mean the guy is a musical genius--did they just not pay him enough to compose something new?

I'm still in that stage where most of my music is on CDs, but some of it is on tape and yet my car sports a tape player. Now, I am mostly happy with this, since my car is my book on tapes mobile and I think it's a crime that CD's start at the beginning everytime you turn them off--they have no memory. I mean, if I hop into 7-11 for a drink, I don't want to have to find my place in the latest Harry Potter tome.

Well, lunch is over, time to get back to the task at hand--Summer Reading Club at the library...

Friday, June 17, 2005

thank God it's friday

Sunday is father's day and Monday is my dad's birthday, so I created a "virtual" birthday/fathers day card by listing links that are of things close to his heart: Charlie Byrd, Warsaw, Poland, and Lech Walesa. I found some really great links, like these:
Grimm's Fairy Tales I love the voices of the two brothers. It can cheer me up when I'm in the foulest of librarian moods.

Embassies of the world This is a cool site if you like seeing what's going on around the world.

In a week, I will be headed to Chicago for the American Library Association Conference. Right now Blake Carver who is a name in library blogging, is looking to make a list of the top ten librarian blogs. I'll be interested to see what the result is.

Friday, June 10, 2005


Around the Bend is a great movie that I never would have picked myself. But we were in the video store, two girls, trying to figure out what to see. Teenage Drama Queen was on the back burner, all the copies of In Good Company were out, I vetoed Hotel Rwanda, and then my friend picked up Around the Bend. It was not a love story, it was not a chick flick, and the soundtrack was on Rhino. That had to mean good things. Well, I have to say, it deserved to win the film festival prizes it won. I laughed, I cried, it was better than Cats.

I just want to go on the record as saying, with all the crap I'm dealing with, I have a pretty good life. I think everybody has crap, but not everybody can say "I have a pretty good life." So I'll say it: I do.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Who is Sarah Louise?

Sarah Louise is a pseudonym because I don't want someone to google me and get my blog as the first entry. I think a little anonymity isn't such a bad thing. Sara Louise Bradford is one of my favorite literary characters, the protagonist of Katherine Paterson's book, Jacob Have I Loved. The month before I started this blog, I must have listened to the audio book 10 times. (It's abridged on two tapes and my daily commute is total 1 hr.) Moira Kelly does the reading and I think she is brilliant. I didn't realize I had added the h at the end of Sara until later. I'm not going to change it--I like the h, and it distinguishes me from the fictional character. Clearly I am not her, but I like her spunk and there are parts of her that are very like me and parts of her that I'd like to emulate and parts that I would not (like to emulate).

Tonight I had a discussion about all sorts of things that led to the topic of Liz Claiborne being a Satanist. Rest easy, it's all lies. Phew, I love her styles! I swear, I can spot a LC dress or jeans a mile away at any local Goodwill. I am ever grateful for the Internet and sources such as to dispell urban myths. The one about rice being bad for birds is a myth too. It's really just bad for Aunt Edna who slips on the slippery stuff.

Today was a crazy day--but I have to say, It's over! I'm going to curl up with my latest favorite Chick Lit, The Solomon Sisters Wise Up, and go to bed!!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Je n'ais ce pas!

Did I even say that right? (French translation: I don't know) I keep trying to define what this blog is...I haven't really talked about pink shoes or pocket books yet...right now I'm im-ing with my brother, one of my top favorite people. He knows more about music than anyone I know, yet he doesn't know how to change a string on his guitar. Fifteen bucks is cheaper than a 35 dollar air filter, so I need to pluck the log out of my eye before I point at the twig in his...He hates Runaway Bride, the movie I just spent the evening watching. It's on his list of worst chick flicks, right up there with the Bachelor with Chris O'Donnell--which I'll trust him on, it sounded yuck. I loved COD in Cookie's Fortune--a great movie!!!! My brother is moving to Austin, where they have great music and a great Latin American Studies program. My brother knows little known music facts like who the New York Dolls are, and what bands were influenced by them (Guns N Roses). He loves the Ramones and is always tripping me up with bands like Yo La Tengo (me: is this Lou Reed? him: no it's yo la tengo singing a Lou Reed song me: right!)

Today I did my mother goose program at the library. it's for 6-24 mos and their parents/caregivers. I do nursery rhymes (old mother goose when she wanted to wander, would fly through the air on a very fine gander), songs (row row row your boat), and finger plays (brow binker, eye winker, cheeks cherry, mouth merry, gully gully gully). It's a good program, we have fun. I also checked in a ton of new cd-roms. The ones I want to try are the Nancy Drew ones. But for the young ones, we now have more Dora and Caillou.

Today I also made quiche. For this I need 4 eggs: I had one! Trip to Giant Eagle (some people (well once in college) call it the Big Bird)--fill in Piggly Wiggly or Harris Teeter. Aren't grocery store names fun? I think Piggly-Wiggly is the best name ever.

Okay, so mark this as most boring post ever, but I just wanted to shout out (ouch). Thank goodness for links--the mother goose one is a good one, if i may say so myself (and i do--coz this is my blog--defining itself day by day...)

maybe next time i'll tell you why i'm sarah louise...

Monday, June 06, 2005

How I spent my summer vacation (part I)

Today I came home to my warm third floor walk-up, a week's worth of mail, and 2 messages on my answering machine. I turned on the a/c, watched Friends, talked to my siblings on the phone, and went to the drug store picked up my photos. I treated myself to a Haagen Daaz ice cream popsicle. It was my reward for paying cash...I'm trying to just pay cash from now on...I've been reading up on debt cascading (where you pay a lot on one debt and the same on the rest and when that one is paid off, you add that payment to the next debt, so that it's like the domino effect.) And the point is, to stop using credit. So I paid for my trip to Midas (an air filter costs $35 to install?) with cash, because, well, I had some. We'll see how long this experiment lasts. The key is to not go overboard either way (in the stingy department or the spending department). Like when you reach a milestone, reward yourself. You may push your "getting out of debt" back a month, but if you're following this plan, you're getting out of debt years in advance, so one month is minor, if you really need a break. I've been listening to this guy's tapes in my car.

So um, that tells you nothing about my summer vac-kay...I got to see my friend Kelly twice, and I got to see my brother every single day!! I usually saw my sister (but she doesn't always get up before noon). I went to Betterton Beach, "the Jewel of the Chesapeake," my favorite beach. I hope to retire near there. (I know, my mom said at 33 you're already planning this?) I love Pittsburgh, and plan to spend the rest of my professional life here, but I need to be near to the sea. My aunt has a house (two?) in South Carolina, near Myrtle Beach.

The day I went to Betterton, it was disguised as a trip to Chestertown, home of my alma mater, Washington College. I had dinner with an old friend and a bunch of his friends, over chinese food and lots of lacrosse talk. But the real reason I go to Chestertown as often as I can is to go to Betterton. My senior year of college was a lonely one. I had a car second semester, and so I used it to drive to Rock Hall and Betterton. The sand on Betterton is not like the white powder you find at playgrounds or Ocean City. It is amber and grainy, like someone emptied a thousand packets of raw sugar. While I was there, a lifeguard (I assume) was cleaning off one of the life guard chairs, getting it ready for the summer. I had my suit in the car, but thought it bad form to assume he would keep an eye out for me when he was clearly working on something. When I went to my car to get my journal, some folks came to the beach and did swim, but I thought it was bad form to join them, complete strangers. So my need to not exercise bad form kept me from exercising my own form. Alas. I have for a memento a stone that is yellow and quite possibly the smoothest stone ever. Last year I took some sand in an empty water bottle and it rolls around the bottom of my car, under the passenger seat.

What else? I went walking in the Memorial Day Falls Church 3k fun run-walk, where you walk around town with thousands of other folks (some people run), and get a free t-shirt and a water bottle! This year the tshirt was pink!! (As in my favorite color, hello?) But I dilly dallied and made a free border at the Creative Memories table and when I got to the tshirt table there they only had extra large. Oh well, it helps to be tall. Although, my mom left hers on the kitchen table (size large) all day and I was seriously tempted to snag it but I didn't. (Such a good daughter am I.)

I had breakfast with my friend Sandi, I had coffee with my friend Tally, and well, it was just a really good summer vacation. I just wanted to finally post something else.

Oh, and at the Memorial Day parade, we met George Fitch, underdog Republican candidate for the govenor of Virginia. This is the guy who created the Jamaican Bob Sled Team (as in the Disney movie Cool Runnings). He was very cool. Too bad I can't vote in Virginia.