Monday, December 29, 2008

In which Alia gets a surprise anniversary present...

Yesterday was our 2 year wedding anniversary and my lovely husband surprised me with a trip to New York. He did a good job keeping it under wraps because I had no clue what was going on until we got to the stop where the Bolt bus picks up. Then I was like, wait a second you are making me take a bus (I get really bad motion sickness) to New York (a city I find overwhelming and dirty). What kind of anniversary is this?! But Josh just said to trust him, that he had it all planned out. And oh did he! First we ate chocolate breakfast. (Thank you Erin for recommending it. I had just told Josh that I was giving you a mental hug when they started playing Silent All These Years over the speakers. I guess that was you hugging me back!) Then we went to The Strand and looked at the miles of books. Then Josh surprised me again with tickets to Billy Elliot. (And we got my favorite Billy. There's three different boys who switch off days doing Billy's part because the dancing is so physically demanding. We got the Cuban by way of Montreal kid, who we saw interviewed on TV a few months ago.) The show was pretty awesome and afterward we met up with Andrew for a drink before having a very yummy dinner. Then it was off to look at the Rockefeller tree and the Christmas window displays and a rush back to the bus stop. We didn't get lost once. And I have to say, as we were walking around looking at the lights, I started to get why people love that city so much. So not only did Josh plan a wonderful day. He actually got me to change my mind about something. A near impossible feat! My husband is pretty awesome.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Movies based on children's books to look out for/make you cringe...

What's with the stop-motion animation? We should see a stop-motion movie version of Coraline in February of 2009 followed by Wes Anderson's take on Roald Dahl's The Fantastic Mr. Fox in November.

Inkheart will be in theaters in January of '09 (How long has it been since Brendan Fraser has been in a good movie?) and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is set for March. Spike Jonze's adaptation of Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are is slated to be out in October. I'm cautiously excited.

And Tim Burton's taking on Alice in Wonderland sometime in 2010. Even though I didn't care for his vision of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I actually think this might work well. Burton does love those repressed characters and so, in some ways, may be perfect for Alice.

Oh and I almost forgot (how could I?!) about the big one. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was delayed until July of 2009. Sigh.

Friday, December 05, 2008

It's just one of those days...

Unemployment is getting to me. Every time I start to feel bummed about not having the job I want, I remind myself that it could be worse. I am working. So I'm a nanny. It's a job. And I work at the library part time. So it's not a librarian position. At least that's something. But today that's just not helping me feel any better. I'm pissed. I don't want to be told to go work in an academic library (like it's so easy to get a job there!) or that there's some magical job out there will turn up. I was a good children's librarian. I want to keep being a children's librarian. I'm staying involved with ALA. I'm still reading reviews and professional literature. I'm doing all the things you're supposed to do to keep yourself competitive. But right now, given the fact that they're laying off staff and closing libraries, it all seems pretty useless. And I'm pissed because I feel like I'm doing all the right things for no reason.

I know I'm luckier than a lot of people and I'm thankful for the things I do have. But today, right now, I just want to have a pity party for thing I'm missing.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

And back in literary land...

I finished The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and liked it so much I checked out and plowed through How to Be Bad. Yeah, I'm on an official E. Lockhart kick.

More Sesame Street Nerdiness

Check out Cookie Monster in the Library. I just spent way to much time this morning watching these videos.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Of course I saw the Twilight movie...

And there's a pretty good review of it up on Slate.

My own issues with the characters and writing aside, I can see why Twilight is such an appealing story. And the story only really appeals because its about vampires. If Bella has been right on her first guess, if Edward were a superhero bitten by a radioactive spider rather than a vamp who's always fighting the urge to bite, there probably wouldn't be nearly as many teenage girls swooning over the books. No Edward has to be a vamp because vampires are very much a metaphor for sex. Being around Edward is risky for Bella because he might hurt her or kill her or more dangerously turn her into a vampire which would (as Edward seems most concerned about) derail the trajectory of her life and deny her the rites of passages (prom, college) that he thinks she should have. Hm, sounds like a teen pregnancy to me. So I think whats really appealing to the girls that rabidly love Edward is the idea of a guy who is willing to forgo his own desire in order to keep the girl safe. Which is why Twilight is at its best when Edward really does seem to want to kill Bella. Once he assumes the role of protector as he has by the end of the book, eh then he get's kind of boring.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ok he's cool but his hair is still obnoxious!

I'm sitting here watching the Today show and since the Twilight movie is bringing back the mall mob scene, they have Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart on. Of course Meredith drags them out to talk to their adoring fan who are all screaming about how they love Edward Cullen and asking stupid questions like "How similar are you to the moody teenage vampire love-god you play?" But the best part was when they asked the girls why they liked Edward so much. I love how Pattinson jumped right in one poor girls face pressing her for an answer. He was all yeah but what exactly to you like about him anyway? And the girl couldn't come up with an answer. Finally kinda shrugging and saying she didn't know.

What she should have said: Not his stupid hair!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I finished reading Brisinger, the next (and I thought last) book in the Eragon series. I'm not really an Eragon fan but I do like to finish off a series if I've started it. Too bad for me that it took me about 800 pages to realized that this was not the last book. At least I started skipping pages about halfway through. Still it was about 799 pages of nothing interesting happening and one page of something very obvious and fairly unimportant happening. Feh!

Christopher Paolini may have a great writing career ahead of him but he needs to move on from this world he's created. I imagine that might be hard for a writer, especially such a young one, and it can't help that the Eragon books are making money. (I haven't heard anything about the sales for this last one though. Maybe buried by the Twilight movie release?) But this last book was so bogged down by unimportant details. It struck me as particularly dry and emotionless. Paolini might be on his way as an author (I'll leave that debate to others) but I think he needs to wrap things up if he ever wants to get there.

And now on to my next book, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart...

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Up until the very last minute last night I was full of gloom and doom. At work on Monday I watched teenage girls, most of whom are too young to even vote, carrying signs and cheering in the street for Obama and all I could do was dread the coming election. You can get used to losing quickly. It's easy to expect little of people.

And then hope won out over pessimism. I am proud of this country and I am so thankful for the right to vote. Today the country has changed and perhaps there is hope for us after all.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Wild Thing Walls

Forget a kid's room, I want this mural in my bedroom!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

We have a T-shirt problem at our house...

I accuse Josh of being the addict but want this so bad. Tell me it's okay. Please?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ohhh Pretty

This had given me a great idea for a craft project at the library this Saturday. Now I better start saving cardboard.

I can't remember the last time I went out to a movie but...

I caught a bit of The Seeker: The Dark is Rising on TV last night after Valeska and I watched Atonement. I only saw a few minutes and most of the time it was on I was explaining to Valeska why the movie is nothing at all like the books. It seemed like such a bland, generic movie, I couldn't get into it at all.

Oh and yes Atonement was good but Keira Knightley drives me nuts. I feel like her acting consists of straining her neck and gulping down air. Too bad too, because she always has these great roles. Though maybe she could have made a good Bella since she's so good at looking distressed. Oh well.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Is this readers block?

I just finished The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. I loved it even though I felt like a lot of the characters, especially the teens, were too good to be true. I feel like the story could have easily been a really depressing one and I think that that might have even been easier to write. But I'm glad that it wasn't.

So what to read next? I have a huge to-read list and yet I can't seem to decide on anything these days. I'm contemplating The Southern Vampire Mysteries since I've been loving the TV show True Blood so much. But I hear the books are very different from the show, so maybe not?

Friday, October 03, 2008

New Job

So this past week I started a part time job as a Saturday After School Leader at my neighborhood library branch. It looks like it's going to be a fun job that will keep me busy while I wait for a librarian position to come up, but there are a few draw backs. It means working every Saturday, which kind of kills my weekends. But I can deal with that because it's a short term thing. The other problem is that I find it depressing to work in a library and not be a librarian. I mean it's fun to work with the kids and I appreciate that the librarians at this branch have gone out of their way to help me get a job, but I want to be planning programs and making decisions. I miss that part of my old job. Sadly, with the economy the way it is it may be a while before I get to revisit my former role. I should use this time to catch up on my reading but I haven't even picked up a book in weeks. I think I'm in a funk. I have The Absolutely True Dairy of a Part-Time Indian on hold though so I should have something to read by next week.

Friday, September 19, 2008

It's not that I have a thing against Sex and the City...

Hey, I'm pretty sure I've seen every episode multiple times. But this is just sort of disturbing.

I mean wasn't the fact that these women were no longer in their twenties the drive behind the show? Eh, I guess not?

I'm still planning on renting the movie.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Strange Dream

Last night Emerson (who once upon a time was perfectly crate trained) was being a pain and whining about being in his crate. Finally I couldn't take it anymore so I got up and slept on the couch. Apparently this makes for some messed up dreaming because once I fell back asleep things got weird.

I dreamed that I was back in high school and a fascist regime had just taken over and two high ranking officials moved next door. Who were these officials? None other than Sarah Palin and Nate Birkus (a designer who's on the Oprah show a lot). Crazy, right? But then it gets weirder because I go next door to give them a pie (Huh?! I've never brought a neighbor a pie! What is this Desperate Housewives?) and end in a giant yelling match with Sarah and Nate. Then, Nate switches sides and says he doesn't want to work for the fascist regime anymore and then Sarah kicks me out.

I think I woke up for a second here and when I fell back asleep I was pregnant and had to ask Sarah Palin for permission to have an abortion. Thank goodness Josh woke me up then to tell me he was leaving for work.

And Sarah Palin, please get the hell out of my head and stop giving me nightmares!

Monday, September 01, 2008

And then a movie I totally do want to see...

Chuck Palahniuk's book Choke has been made into a movie and it comes out Sep. 26th. I've read all of Palahniuk's books except, oddly enough, for Fight Club (but I did see the movie) and though I like them well enough, I find it easy to tire of the whole transcendence through the grotesque. But Choke is one of my favorites. It has one of the funniest, sickest scenes I've ever read. A scene which I really hope they didn't cut out in the movie, but I'm guessing they probably did.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

And now I kinda want to see the movie...

So I am reading the Midnight Sun Commentary over at Occupation Girl (If you don't mind spoilers read it! It's great for inducing fits of "I'm glad I haven't had cofee yet this morning because I'm sure I'd snarf it all over my keyboard" laughter.) and while on her blog I came across this quote from Robert Pattinson about playing Edward Cullen.

"When you read the book," says Pattinson, looking appropriately pallid and interesting even without makeup, "it's like, 'Edward Cullen was so beautiful I creamed myself.' I mean, every line is like that. He's the most ridiculous person who's so amazing at everything. I think a lot of actors tried to play that aspect. I just couldn't do that. And the more I read the script, the more I hated this guy, so that's how I played him, as a manic-depressive who hates himself. Plus, he's a 108-year-old virgin so he's obviously got some issues there."

Friday, August 29, 2008

Where the middle class ends

It's been in the news and the topic of more than one discussion with friends of late: how much do you have to make before you are no longer middle class? Slate author Daniel Gross weighs in here.

Last time I had this discussion I went so far as to say that I thought $100,000 is more than the average middle class salary. What I guess I meant is, while in places like D.C. or New York you might not be able to buy a home and send the kids to private school, in most places you could. Plus, your lifestyle is going to depend, not only on how much money you make, but also how you spend it. Even if you double that amount, you'd still have to make choices about how you spend. But I'm totally in agreement with the Slate article; just because you can't have everything doesn't mean you're not rich!

Monday, August 25, 2008


Maine was beautiful and relaxing. Good times were had with good friends and Emerson was given way more attention than he ever gets at home. The only mishap was on our last day there when we went out to breakfast and returned to find that Em had escaped the confines of the house. Luckily a neighbor found him dancing with the cars on the street and put him in the back of his truck to keep him safe. As Ginny, Josh and I scoured the neighborhood this guy happened to pass us in his truck. I've never seen Josh so relived. I thought he was going to have a heart attack! As promised, there are pictures up here.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Yay, we leave for Maine on Saturday. Initially, I was worried that Emerson was going to hate traveling but now that he'll be with Michelle for part of the way I know he'll be a happy puppy. How is it my dog loves everyone else more than his owners? We take pretty good care of him. We love him. But somehow his heart belongs to our friends.

I promise pictures when we get back. Wheee!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Spoiling Breaking Dawn

I just finished Breaking Dawn and I couldn't have predicted how much I hated it. I mean, I'm pretty sure that the whole time I was reading part of my mind was just repeating, gross gross gross gross gross....

I've copped to it before: I liked Twilight. I even kind of liked New Moon. Though the characters annoyed me and the writing grated on my nerves, I felt it was no more disturbing than your typical romance novel. And I can see why teenage girls are loving the escapist fantasy of it all. But for me Breaking Dawn took disturbing to a whole new level.

Ok. There's spoilers ahead. Stop reading if you don't want to know.

So the book begins with Bella and Edward's wedding. It's boring and perfect. Oh except for the part where Bella briefly gets manhandled by the two men who are supposedly in love with her. Way to show off your affection guys. Anyway, then they have a boringly perfect honeymoon. Oh except for the crazy Vampire /Human sex that leaves Bella battered. But then she doesn't care. Why should she care that she's being hurt? All that matters is that she's got her man. And so we learn the first lesson of Breaking Dawn, as long as your guy loves you, who cares if he beats the crap out of you! I mean, he didn't mean to and he's really really sorry. He swears it will never happen again.

At this point I had to put the book down for a bit. It was that or hurl it out the window. I should have hurled because it gets so much worse. You see, nobody thought about birth control on this perfect honeymoon and guess what...Bella's knocked up. Yup, Bella's got a blood sucking bun in the oven. If you want to walk away from this review now, do it. I think this was the point where I really should have just stopped reading. Because even though the little hybrid vampire fetus is killing her, Bella loves it and refuses to give it up. Let that be lesson number two, abortion is immoral. The better alternative is to let the fetus kill you. I mean how selfish is it for Edward to want to protect Bella's life over that of an unborn child. Oh but don't worry he comes around once he hears the kid's thoughts. You see people, this fetus has a soul! How could you even think about doing away with her? You are so going to hell!

And it gets so much worse. Bella gives the baby the most hideous name ever. Even the characters in the book refuse to call her by her given name. It's THAT bad. Oh and remember that Werewolves like to in fall in love with babies. So I'd watch the kid around Jacob. And then some political Vampire stuff happens, which is boring. And then they all live happily ever after. Now, I have no problem with happily ever after. I do have a problem with almost everything else in the book though. Wait, to be fair there was some interesting stuff going on with Jacob and his pack. True, Jacob is a whiny baby when it comes to Bella but for the most part the wolves were way more fun to read about. I guess I liked how they, you know, cared about people other than themselves.

I know that there are die hard fan of the series out there and that there are also the flip side of the coin, people who detest the whole series. I considered myself pretty neutral before. Though I guess this puts me firmly in one camp.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Now that I'm unemployed the crafty me emerges...

So I've already refinished a table. Now I need a new project. I've been thinking about getting a sewing machine but I wasn't sure I'd really use it. Then I came across this Eric Carle fabric over at Apartment Therapy and I'm inspired. I am so getting this!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Goodbye DC

We move tomorrow. I have to say I am doing rather well considering that when we came here I cried and wouldn't leave our apartment. And yes it helps that the Stella sprout is in Philly. Still, there's a lot I will miss about D.C. and there's a lot I just never got around to doing. So I'm making a list. My top ten reasons I'm going to miss D.C.

1. Living next to the zoo.
2. Living walking distance from almost all my New College friends.
3. Spending Sunday morning at the farmers market.
4. Friday happy hour with my librarian friends.
5. Free museums. I wish I spent more time in them.
6. Babysitting for Leon, because he's super funny and cute.
7. The story time crew.
8. Cherry trees in the spring.
9. Driving over Memorial Bridge. I do it every day and it's still pretty cool.
10. Rock Creek park.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Goodbye Arlington

We had a staff meeting today and at the end our Friends of the Library representative and his two darling daughters came in with cupcakes for the staff and a vase full of marigolds. The marigolds were the very same little seeds we planted months ago after our gardening story time. Sigh. The oldest daughter is four and my most dedicated story time participant and she is so sweet and sensitive. She's all sad that I'm leaving and I'm sad too! I'll miss her little pixie face peering up at me each week. Aw, I'll miss the whole story time crowd.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Food and Picture Books

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is getting made into a movie, with Andy Samberg. It doesn't sound like it's going to be very faithful to the book but still, pizza and ice cream raining down from the sky is just fun!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The New Yorker does something right

There was a link to this in my ALA newsletter. We like articles about children's librarians. Yay!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

American Girl on Slate

Spurred by the new movie that's coming out this summer, there's an interesting discussion of the American Girl franchise over at Slate. I'm glad that they address the "commodity fetishism of it all" as well as the appeal of the dolls. And I thought that it was a rather intelligent conversation until I came across this quote:
I think I'll get my kids the catalogs. I miiiight consider getting them a doll, but I'd definitely pair those plodding books with some better kids' lit.
Wait, isn't that backwards? You will get your kids the catalogs, media that is purely consumerist, you might get the dolls; and but your biggest worry is that the books aren't quality kid lit?! What on earth do you think the catalogs are then? Alice in Wonderland? Treasure Island? People just don't make sense sometimes.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Suicide Weekend

Actually I had a wonderful weekend. Ginny was in town for a conference so there was lots of fun hanging out with New College friends.

But I did manage to read two books in which involved teenage girls committing suicide. The first book, Thirteen Reasons Why, was structurally very interesting because of its use of dual narratives. Hannah, the girl who committed suicide, narrates her story through the tapes she's left for the thirteen people she blames for her suicide. And then there's Clay, a recipient of said tapes. Clay has had a long standing crush on Hannah and was devastated by her suicide. While the book was painful to read at times, Hannah is not at all a sympathetic character. As the story winds down you start to feel more and more fed up with her and and angry. Like I said, it's more of an interesting concept book than a good read.

Then I read Looking for Alaska by John Green. I don't want to give away too much because it was a really good book, but another suicide!

My weekend reading would have me believing that teenage girls are offing themselves left and right. Though in reality, Ginny (who is a psychologist and thus knows these things) says teenage boys are more likely to actually commit suicide than girls are. Hmmm. As I think back at the YA books I've read in the past that deal with suicide, it seems that in fiction it is usually girls who take their own lives. Interesting little contrast there, huh?

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Breaking Dawn

The grown-up me warns, "You will be disappointed and somewhat offended. Don't get all excited."

The 15 year old in my head responds, "Eeeeeee....why can't I have a gorgeous vampire fall passionately in love with me. "

Needless to say, I'm torn here.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


I'm sorry. I know it's been a while and I'm wondering if there's anyone who still checks this blog. I'm debating the merits of continuing to blog as we get ready to move and I get more and more occupied with other things. But for now, we'll see how it goes. Speaking of moving, we now have an apartment. Yay! Now all we have to do if figure out how we are getting all our belongings from here to there. Fun times for sure.

Still no job though. I don't know what libraries up there are going through but if this area is a reflection of what's going on on a national scale, I'm worried!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

City of Ashes

Yay, Cassandra Clare's second book finally arrived at the library for me. I plowed through it on Friday and was quite happy. I think the writing might have improved, though some of the descriptions of the boys in the book were almost as annoying as Meyer's sparkling vampires. But I liked that we're past the predictable set up part of the first book, and into the action! And man, is there action. No one escapes without injury in this book! I do like Clary as a heroine (though this book seemed to concentrate a bit more on Jace and what was going on with him) and I'm willing to stick with the series till she starts really kicking butt!

My biggest beef with the book was the
Jace/Clary/Simon love triangle. As I've already complained in my goodreads review, it seems like every "urban fantasy" book I read has this dynamic going on and it drives me batty. The author makes it very obvious to us readers who the heroine is in love with and then wants us to believe that she's so confused and she can't tell the difference between platonic friendship feelings and and ooooh I wanna jump your bones feelings. Please, urban fantasy writers, stop doing this. It makes your characters seem dumb and flaky. And I don't want to ready about dumb, flaky girls. I want to read about girls who are strong and true to themselves. That's the type of character I want the girls in my middle school book club to look up to, to imagine themselves as. So let's start writing book in that vein, ok?

Monday, May 05, 2008

I don't love moving!

So now that it's official that we are moving to Philadelphia in August, I can start obsessing about my hatred of moving. First off, moving involves change. And me, well, I don't do so well with change. Then there's all the organizing and packing and labeling which would be doable except that this will all have to be done while Josh is studying for the bar! And then there's the having to find a new job a process that I'm finding difficult to navigate due to the very different way that Philadelphia Free Library does their hiring. OY!

But at least Philly has Stella, my favorite child in the whole world. (Sorry to my darling story-time kids!) So there's the silver lining in this whole moving mess.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Passover Update

I cooked almost all the food for the family seder on Saturday (except for the turkey and dessert) so here's the final score for each item on a scale of 1 to 10:

Mocked Liver:
Made from mushrooms, onions, and walnuts this spread was huge success! Very yummy on top of matzah.
Score: 9

Traditonally a mixture of apples, walnuts, and wine, this spread is supposed to symbolize the mortar used by the Jewish slaves in Egypt. I made this two ways. The traditional mixture came out ok. I also made "tropical" charoset made from bananas, pears, apples, dates, almonds, and sweetened with fruit juice. This was, as my mom and I both agreed upon tasting, "damn good!"
Score: 5 for the traditional charoset, 10 for the tropical version.

Matzah ball soup (vegetarian version):
I made the veggie broth from scratch and it came out well. The matzah balls were pretty good but not my best. The first batch was just a tiny bit dense. The second batch came out nearly perfect. I didn't do anything differently so I'm not sure why. Everyone liked them and several guest took them home so they couldn't have been that bad anyway.
Score: 8

Beet salad:
I usually roast beets when I make them but this dish called for slicing them and baking them in lemon juice and butter. The end result was okay. My mom, who claims to have hated beets before, ate them and seemed to like them but if I made them again I would go back to cutting them up in chunks and roasting them.
Score: 5

Sweet potato kugle:
Made with sweet potato, apples, rasins, and matzah meal. In making this I realized that I much prefer savory kugel over sweet. Also, this low-fat recipe cut out all the eggs and butter - all the good stuff really. Edible but unless you really want a low-fat option, I'd say go with a recipe that's not quite so good for you!
Score: 4

I didn't make these but my friend Ginny brought a flourless chocolate cake and my sister made macaroons. Both were awesome.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Thank you Apartment Therapy

for another awesome bookshelf. I want it! How awesome would that be in the middle of the children's section at the library?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

What I'm looking forward to reading....

A review of City of Ashes: The Mortal Instruments, (sequel to City of Bones) by Cassandra Clare is up at Bookshelves of Doom. Yay! It looks pretty entertaining and I'll admit, I have no problem overlooking flaws if the book is good fun. Especially when I am feeling stressed out and just want a good escape.

I'm still waiting for The Luxe (I'm still way down at the bottom of the hold list) despite the iffy reviews I've read. What can I say I'm a sucker for pretty covers.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Overheard at work

A patron goes up to the circulation desk to ask if we can extend her time on the computer. It's late afternoon, our busiest computer time so the person at the desk tells her no, she'll have to wait and sign up again. The patron complains about how sad this makes her. Then she unsuccessfully tries to bribe not one, but TWO different library employees to extend her time. The offer: 5 bucks.

Um, here's the problem with that. For one, library employees are generally honest folks. We were the good kids in school. We are probably the least likely county employees to take a bribe. And second, people are watching us! The staff room is pretty open to the desk so it's not like everyone else can't see what's going on at the desk. So you better be offering more than 5 bucks if you want anyone to risk getting into major trouble! And, oh yeah, if you have the five bucks to throw around, why not try paying for as much time as you need at an internet cafe? The reason we have time restrictions on our computers is because it's free. We don't want your money!

Friday, April 04, 2008

You feel differently when...

I gotta complain about something here. I am getting rather peeved about being told that I'll feel differently about things when I'm a parent. A few well-meaning older women have said this to me the recently and it always leaves me grinding my teeth and grumbling. Now I understand that having a child changes your life and that there's no way to predict what the experience is like. But it seems to me that the people who are saying this are not talking about my feeling in regards to children or even certain life choices but rather in regards to my beliefs and ideals. And even if it's true. Even if it does all change when you have kids, it's just plain rude to say that to someone. You are basically saying nothing you think or feel now is valid because you are not a mother. Even if the person saying it is well meaning, it's still a power play. With that small phrase they have just told me that they know better than I do and I can't argue with anything they are saying.

Everyone has experiences that shape the way they think. But you can't go around telling people that their experience isn't valid because it's not the same as yours. I still don't know how to respond the next time someone says this to me though, other than ranting on my blog after the fact!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

A belated poetry friday for Stella...

and her parents. I found this poem today and thought of you and your new family.

And so you arrive,
ancient-faced houseguest,
like some relative out of a sepia-toned photograph,
surrounded by a thousand pounds
of duffel bags and steamer trunks,
the contents spilling loose down our front steps.

Read the entire poem by David Harris Ebenbach here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Wobbly Walkers

My first program for the under two set was a success. The parents were all really great and despite my nervousness about singing everything went well. The only song I absolutely cannot sing is You Are My Sunshine. I had to sort of whisper along to it and let the parents do that one because I just can't hit the notes at all. I mean I butcher it to the point where it is not ever recognizable. If I ever have children that is one song I will not be singing to them!

Monday, March 24, 2008

If my camera were charged...

I'd post a picture of the hamentashen I made this weekend. But since the camera is out of commission you will just have to take my word for it that they were not only yummy but also pretty nice looking. I made half of them with poppy seed filling and half with nutella. Poppyseed being traditional and nutella being a delicious variation I picked up from the children's librarian at my old job. Poor Emerson sat by the oven wagging his tail the whole time they were baking and looked very dejected when he realized he wasn't going to get any yummy people food from me. Sorry Em, but they are mine...all mine!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Guess what, I'm real!

So yesterday I'm cleaning up the children's section right before closing when one of my darling story-time kids comes up to me.

Girl: Are going home now?
Me: Yep, the library is closing and I'm going home.
Girl: You're going home just like a real person. Wow.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

So is it spring now?

When I left for Florida last week for Erin's wedding it was cold and then we came back to DC on Monday to flowers and sunshine. Is that here to stay? I'm sick of winter. Maybe that's because it was bright and sunny and like 90 degrees in Miami. I loved it. It's funny, every time we visit Miami Josh hates the heat and humidity and I relish it. Though it does make my hair a lot more frizzy!

Oh and the wedding was lovely. Everyone was walking around saying "oh this is so Erin" about the colors and the flowers. The bride looked beautiful. Just beautiful. And the music rocked! Now its back to the real world of planning story times and running around to meetings and filing taxes. I start an under 2 program next week that I feel totally unprepared for. Ugh, I hate the idea of just singing to parents while the babies crawl around. But oh well, the demand is there. My program is already full.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

It's hard to cuddle up with a computer screen but...

I'm kind of facinated by digital libraries so this looks really cool to me.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

What I'm reading this week....

Why is it that authors feel the need to state that their characters don't like the site of blood. As in "She couldn't stand the sight of blood, especially her own." Um, shouldn't that go without saying? Now if she loved the sight of blood, that would be something to write about maybe. That might be unusual. But not caring so much for the site of your own blood outside of your veins...not a shocker!

Ok, that said, I just finished City of Bones by Cassandra Clare and I want someone else to read it now so we can discuss. I've been reading some mixed reviews, with some valid points, but overall I liked this one. Clary Fray is living an ordinary existance when she witnesses three teenagers killing a demon and is drawn into the supernatural world of the Shadowhunters, rune tattooed warriors who hunt down demons . Soon it's clear that Clary is not so ordinary after all. Imagine Harry Potter and Star Wars all mashed up together in a good way and you have City of Bones. There is the dreaded mention of disliking the sight of blood which made me afraid Clary would end up being Bella-ish. Then there was the begining of a Jacob/Edward feud and I'm thinking uh oh, this is going to be Twilight all over again. But the book redeemed itself by the end. This is only book one, so we'll see, but so far Clary seems rather smart. (Well, she should have figured out who her father is MUCH sooner, but I'll let that slide.) In fact I found most of the characters really appealing which is why I didn't mind that the plot seemed to borrow heavily from other stories. I'm looking forward to the next book.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Passover Menu

I'm home sick today and to pass the time I'm trying to come up with a menu for Passover. My mom's letting me cook and I'm excited. So far I think I want to make this cake for dessert. I wanted make a tofurkey but that's not kosher for passover so I will have to think of something else vegetarian. Other menu items I'm considering at the moment: baked stuffed zucchini and mock chopped "liver." If anyone has any other vegetarian ideas let me know.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


44 kids at this afternoon's story time. Our biggest group yet. Yay! Now I am going to go collapse.

Various things on my mind...

1. Pics of the cast from the Twilight movie are up on Stephanie Meyer's website. I'm sorry but looking at those pictures made me giggle. For some reason, reading about a family of sparkling vampires is much less silly than looking at pictures of them.

2. Thanks to Bookshelves of Doom I have found my dream house. Check out the staircase/bookcase. Yum.

3. In local news the penguins are starting trouble again. But at least they have people standing up for them though. School Board Vice Chairman John Stevens said in a written statement “Parents determine what is appropriate for their own children and how to guide their children as they learn and grow,” and that “The schools should not be an instrument of censorship."

Ah. So there are some sane people on school boards!

4. I just finished reading Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin and Extras by Scott Westerfeld. Loved Memoirs. Didn't care for Extras. Zevin writes teenagers really well and Memoirs reminded a lot of the Jessica Darling series by Megan McCaffrey. Extras was a whole lot of superficial characters riding around on hover boards. It was like one very long Quiddich match. I know some kids like that sort of thing but I was never that kind of reader.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Women and Fear

I have been thinking about fear lately. I just finished reading The Terror Dream by Susan Faludi and then there was an article in BUST by Michelle Dobrovolny about women, fear, and solo travel. So it’s been on my mind a lot. Then, as I was leaving the library last night a youngish guy stops me and asks me why I’m leaving so early. I’m confused but not really wary because I figured that he was just wondering if the library was closing soon. But no, it was my schedule he wanted to know about. He said he thought I always closed on Mondays. That’s when I started feeling a bit sketched out. But I thought about the Bust article and how I didn’t want to be fearful when there really wasn’t any danger so I just made a joke about not being willing to work 16 hour days and headed out to my car. Well, this dude followed me asking me where I lived. I said DC. At this point I was at my car in the parking lot and I was getting a bit nervous. The dude asked what I was up to after work. I said I was off to the gym, wished him a goodnight and hopped in my car. No harm done. But could there have been? As I sat in my car I realized that I had no idea if my fear was warranted in that situation or not. Obviously, the dude wasn’t planning on attacking me or he would have done so in the parking lot. Was it fair of me to assume he was an aggressor when he was just being friendly? Was it right for me to be afraid or was I falling prey to a big myth?

Saturday, February 09, 2008

The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean

Fourteen year old Sym is obsessed with the Antarctic and Capatin Oates of the failed Scott expedition to the South Pole. She has even created an imaginary friend of sorts out of Oates and confides her feeling to him. When Sym's equally obsessed Uncle (really a kind family friend) takes her on a trip to the Antartic or "The Ice" as they like to call it, it seems like a dream come true. But quickly it turns into a nightmare as Sym realizes her Uncle's intentions are not so kindly after all.

I can say this: the writing is very very good. But, vivid descriptions of the deadly cold, horrific pain, and frostbitten skin did not appeal to me. Ad it's a pretty long book so there was a lot of frostbitten skin! Nor did I like the main charater, Sym. I kept waiting for her to do something heroic, or at least a bit smart. But no, she just seems to bumble her way through survival relying on the paternalistic voice of a dead exploer that only she can hear. I didn't want this old dead guy to be saving Sym, I wanted Sym to do something to save herself. A review on goodreads compared her to Bella from Twilight and she is. But I don't much care for Bella either! Anyway, it's the 2008 Printz winner. So I guess I'm in the minority here, but I was disappointed.

The fact that it won the Printz made me wonder if there's any requiremet of "teen appeal" for the award. I know that's not actually a factor in the Caldecott and Newbery but I thought the Printz was different. So I looked it up and sure enough the website says:
"We hope the award will have a wide AUDIENCE among readers from 12 to 18 but POPULARITY is not the criterion for this award. "
Which is fine. These are literary awards after all. But I do wonder how many parents and educators realize that. Just because a book wins the Newbery or the Printz, that doesn't mean kids will be racing to read it like a new installation of Harry Potter!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Another long Saturday spent working...

and I'm bored and trolling craigslist, looking at houses I'll never be able to afford. And anyway, who knows where we will have to live once Josh gets a job. But oh, this one is just so cute. Not quite as 'pony and tea party" evoking as the last one, but still I would live there. Sigh.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Why we need commas...

Found in our library's catalog (I added the red circle).

Friday, January 11, 2008

Poetry Friday: Eating the Bones

My grandfather passed away a few months back, and unfortunetly I haven't been able to get to Miami to see my grandmother since then. But this poem reminds me so much of her. Before I went veggie, I shared this habit of eating bones with my grandmother. My dad does it too. It totally grosses my mom out. You can read the poem Eating the Bones by Ellen Bass here.

So Excited!

Starting on January 13, PBS's Masterpiece Theatre will broadcast all six of Jane Austen novels, including four new adaptations and a biopic!

I'm a bit facinated by the way Jane Austen flares in popularity every few years, usually because of some new movie based on her work. Back in the highschool days, I remember being inspired to to read Emma after watching Clueless.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

In the new year...

Things have been pretty slow since the holidays. At the library I have some new programs in the works. I am getting geared up for a gaming party for the teens in March and maybe coercing some kids into doing some podcasting. But mostly I have been relaxing and enjoying my two-week break from story times.

The story time break has also left me with way too much time to search the internet for houses I will never be able to afford. Currently I'm obsessed with this one on craigslist. I want to live there and have a pony in the yard and invite my friends over for tea parties.