Thursday, March 31, 2011

Now Quiet Down, Children

Yesterday, I got to be the substitute storyteller.

The children's librarian needed a replacement for morning storytime, so she asked me. I was so excited!

Let me just tell you something. I love reading out loud. Preferably to someone. But I've been known to read out loud to myself.

I love reading. And reading out loud just takes it to the next level. Of awesomeness. I've read kids' books to college students when I was in school, and let me just tell you that it doesn't matter HOW old you are; everyone loves a good story.

It's like magic. Even the loudest, most obnoxious kids quiet down. Parents with their kids are engrossed. I realize as I'm reading that the room has fallen silent. Mouths are hanging open and my every word is just being absorbed.

When I read aloud, I like to hear what the kids are thinking. (I recommend doing this whenever you can. They come up with the best stuff.) Yesterday we were reading books about the sense of smell. So I asked what their favorite smells are. One kid said confidently, "Mac and cheese!" This caused me to crave this comfort food for the entire rest of the day.

We also read a book about a garden, and a girl who wanted to grow jellybeans and seashells. I asked the kids what they've tried to grow in their gardens. Among the answers were "bones" and "my head."

We read The Story of Ferdinand, about the bull who would rather smell flowers than fight. The kids thought that book was pretty exciting. They all agreed at the end that they liked it.

What a fun morning!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

This is Just Getting Ridiculous

Spring and I aren't exactly on speaking terms, currently.

I feel betrayed. Like I was promised chocolate and got a pot of dirt dumped on my head instead. Spring poked its little bunny head out a couple times weeks ago, but I'm starting to give up hope that it's ever really coming.

It's hard to believe that, not that long ago, the entire library staff had their faces smushed against the library windows, watching robins hop around in the grass. GRASS, not OLD, DIRTY SNOW.

And now, someone said the other day that we might just go from winter to summer. ExcUSE me? Winter to summer? Thanks a lot, spring. You wet blanket. You destroyer of dreams.

I LOVE spring. I don't want to miss out on it!

I'm just going to continue pouting now.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Voices In My Head


Common Thoughts That "Run" Through My Mind When I Run

haha...see what I did there? run...? okay, on to the list:

1. I hate running.

2. I love running!

3. Man, these pink sneakers look good on my feet.

4. How far have I gone so far?

5. That's IT???!!!

6. Go faster; you can handle it.

7. Go slower; who do you think you are?

8. I wonder how many chocolate chip cookies I've burned off?

9. I want to stop.

10. Keep going, you old woman!

11. No, I really want to stop.

12. Shut up!

13. Am I almost done?

14. No. Yes. No. Yes. No. Yes.

15. Repeat thoughts 1 through 14 approximately 37 times.

16. I'm done! Woo-hoooooo! Look at me! I'm so awesome! Thank you, thank you, thank you...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Strolling Through the Library

Over the weekend, I visited another library. Which I love to do. I'm always curious to see the differences. I get jealous of cool things in other libraries. And I gloat over what I think my library does better.

Apparently, I am a library snob. Who knew?

Mostly, though, I love to poke around in different libraries and see how things are organized. What's emphasized. What kinds of displays are set up. What the children's library looks like. What programs they have.

In this particular library, I saw several sad signs informing patrons that this service was no longer offered or this price had gone up...all because of decreased library funding. That kind of thing is pretty upsetting to me, obviously.

Libraries depend so much upon the patrons. Everything we do is to make their experiences at the library the best they can be. That's why we come up with program ideas, order particular books, and go above and beyond in service.

Lots of libraries have come up with creative ways of making more money, and this library was no exception. All over the circulation desk, displays of homemade items, food, and gifts were being offered for a price.

Browsing through the stacks, I accumulated quite a pile. I had to set it down because it got too heavy. This reminded me of when I was little, and how I used to check out dozens of books at a time. I would spread them out all over the floor and arrange them in the order I wanted to read them. One time when I was at the library, I had pulled out so many books that a librarian came over and got mad at me. I told her I was going to check them out; I wasn't just pulling them for fun. That shut her up.

The new book display is always a highlight. New books make me really excited. They're so shiny and perfect. No recipes ripped out, no passages underlined. All the latest from my favorite authors, as well as new authors to try.

Visiting other libraries opens my eyes to what other libraries are doing. Because I love my job, I can't seem to stay away from them.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Sort It Out

There are two types of people in this world.

Those that eat M&Ms randomly, and those that sort them.

I am in the sorting camp. I sort M&Ms.

What does this say about me? Who knows? Who cares?

If I have a flat surface in front of me, my preferred method of sorting is the pyramid technique. I line up the M&Ms in rows of colors, with the more numerous colors on the bottom. Obviously.

I eat the spares until they all line up perfectly.

Oh, you were wondering what my favorite colors were? That'd be blue and green.

So after my pyramid lines up perfectly, I just chip away at the lines, making the pyramid smaller and smaller. Until it's all gone.

There're other ways one can sort M&Ms. If I was more creative, I'd do interesting shapes and mosaics. I just stick to flowers, if I'm making pictures.

I've also written my name. That's hard to do unless you have a lot of M&Ms. Otherwise, you just end up with stubby little lines that you have to squint at to read.

M&Ms are pretty fabulous. But I would recommend slowing down and savoring them the right way. By organizing your M&Ms. Like a civilized human being.

You're welcome.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mean Girl

I am really glad that no one can read my mind. Honestly, the things that go through my head. The things I think about people can be so judgmental and downright mean.

For example, people watching. To me, people watching is a lot more comfortable than actually interacting with people. This is an introvert thing, I'm sure. Anyway, I'm fascinated by watching people. How they look, what they say, how they interact with each other... But it doesn't end there. I'm watching people and judging them based on how special I think I am. Which is pretty stinkin' special, if you were wondering.

Also, I'm a sarcastic person. Not sure how this happened. But it's true. And I have to be careful that all the nonsense that's in my head doesn't spill out of my mouth to bite someone.

Now, I'm definitely proud of myself when I DON'T write or say hurtful things. Which is more often than actually writing/saying them, thank you very much. As many times as I wish I could let it all out on Facebook (I take it too seriously sometimes...I mean, it's Facebook), I've got to hold back. Or I will not have friends.

Self-control is important. But more important is going straight to the source - my mind - and evaluating my pride issues and my lack-of-love-and-understanding issues.

I'm a work in progress.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hello My Name is, Um, Jane.

Occasionally, library patrons will ask me what my name is. I assume this is because either:

a) I am amazing. I have revolutionized their library experience, and they want a name to shout out in joy and thanksgiving.

b) I am wretched. I have ruined their lives and disgraced the books I swore to defend.

It can be disconcerting to have people ask me what my name is. Do you really need to know? Can I give you a fake name? Are you going to write me a letter of thanks/criticism? Do you really JUST want to know my name? What's YOUR name?

I think I just have a suspicious nature.

This post seems short. But I don't have anything else to say. Just so you don't feel cheated....if you need something else to do...go to . Finish quotes, name characters, list states and countries...

 But beware. There's a strong possibility that you'll become addicted.

Not sure if I should be proud or ashamed that I did so well finishing Princess Bride quotes.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It Could Come in Handy, Though

I really wish that, when I buy an article of clothing with buttons on it, it would NOT come with an extra button.

Because now I have this button, in this cute, tiny, plastic ziploc bag, and I start to believe that I'm going to need it.

But you've never lost a button before.
So? I might need it.
Even if you did lose a button, you're too lazy to sew a new one on.
So? I might need it.
Just throw it away.
But I have it now. I can't throw it away. It's mine. I might...need it.

It's pathetic, the things I save. Instruction manuals, receipts, and of course, buttons. These things that come with things....things I think I might NEED someday.

Stupid buttons that come with stupid sweaters. I can't just throw you away. I have to STORE you somewhere. Somewhere with all the other plastic baggies of buttons. The graveyard of extra, spare, things. That I might need someday.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Run Along...

So I FINALLY went out and got some real running shoes over the weekend. The pair I've been using were just some random sneakers I got who-knows-where, who-knows-how-long-ago.

I walked into Dick's Sporting Goods, strutting down the aisles confidently, as if I am the type of super-athlete that regularly shops there. As I checked out the dozens upon dozens of different shoes, I kept my list of qualifications in mind. After all, these sneakers had to be perfect.

Criteria for Running Shoes
1. Must be relatively inexpensive.
2. Must be for running in particular.
3. Must be pink.

So, there you have it. My secret wish for the perfect pair of sneakers was that they be pink. I've drooled long enough over every other pair of pink sneakers at the gym. Time to have my own!

I got Asics brand sneakers, on sale, obviously. And they have so much cushioning! I tried them out yesterday on the treadmill whille watching Amazing Race and it was like running on a field of marshmallows. Ah, bliss. They make me wonder why I stuck with my old sneakers for so long!

Here's a picture. Cute, right?


Friday, March 18, 2011

St. Patrick's Day. Oops.

Librarians are a pretty easy-going bunch. As I've mentioned before, they're not always busy shushing people. But my co-workers are hard-core about certain things. For instance,

you don't mess with the holidays.

When it's December, you choose from your 27 holiday sweaters and you WEAR THEM. Valentine's Day? Heart earrings and red. Or pink. St. Patrick's Day? Duh.

Well, guess what? I forgot to wear green yesterday. At the beginning of the week I kept thinking St. Patty's was Wednesday, and then on Thursday morning it just never entered my mind.

Five minutes into my workday I realized my error. And dread swept through me. Maybe no one would notice?

Oh, they noticed.

I groveled. I whined. I made excuses. But this was, frankly, unexcusable.

Luckily, someone had brought in a handful of bright green beaded necklaces with plenty of four-leaf clover shapes. Almost as if she knew SOMEone would forget.

I just never thought it would be me.

I briefly thought through my options as I held the gaudy necklace in my hand against my outfit. Then I realized there were no options. I put the necklace on. And I swore I would do better next time.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Book Club

So I'm in charge of a couple different programs at the library. I really like having the experience of organizing events for different age groups, even the ones that scare me. (I'm talking to YOU, 4-6th graders.) The first event I took on was a book club for adults.

I took over this monthly event from someone else, and stepped in as the newest and youngest member. There's a group of about eight older women who have been attending for years. Needless to say, I felt a little apprehensive about coming in and attempting to lead a discussion each month.

Each month, though, I have such a great time. The ladies are so fun, and I have loads of respect for their wisdom and life experience. I love hearing their stories, and I love that they put up with me and value my opinion.

It's cool being the youngest person. Even when I get the sense that everyone else is exchanging glances after something I've said. If only she knew...well, she'll know someday...

Yesterday, our discussion veered somewhat off-topic (as it often does. I just go with it.) and we started talking about poetry, and what we've memorized over the years. One lady just broke right into a recitation of a poem she learned ages ago. And then another poem. And then someone else recalled a poem she used to read every morning on a cup she used for breakfast.

Things like this make me happy. Good books. Good conversation. And the way-cool-super-duper-awesome library, which brings us all together.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I Could've Been 106

So I took this health quiz to discover how long I would live.

As it turns out, I do a lot of things right. I don't eat much red meat, I exercise a lot, I don't smoke, I get enough sleep...

And my score was 103! I'm going to live to be 103! That should be interesting. Can't say I'm really looking forward to it, but it is an impressive number.

The thing is, I could've lived to be 106. But I don't floss.

I confess this with a definite amount of shame. I'm a clean person. I brush my teeth a lot. But I've never gotten into the habit of flossing.

Usually, the only times I floss for a couple weeks at a time is after I've gone to the dentist and been scared into it. That flossing zeal usually fades after a while. I can't seem to stay with it.

I've written before about what agony it is now to brush for two whole minutes. And now I need to add flossing as well? I'm a big multitasker. If I'm watching something on my computer, I have to be cleaning my room or writing an email or putting on my makeup at the same time. And I'm always in the middle of several books at once.

When I'm brushing my teeth or flossing my teeth, I can't really do anything else at the same time. I'm trapped. And that can be a really frustrating experience.

But maybe I'll give it another go anyway. I mean, 106...

This woman looks a little too thrilled to be flossing, if you ask me.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Stick 'Em Up

There's something about stickers.

What is it? Why are they so appealing?

Is it the billions of shapes, colors, characters, even smells and textures?

Is it the little somethin' special they add to paper they stick on?

Is it the big amount of joy they bring compared to the small cost?

Well, I don't know. All I know is, people love stickers.

I used to collect stickers. I still have a lot of them. And by "collect," I mean people just gave me a lot of stickers and I put them in a big envelope. And I didn't use any of my "favorite" ones. I just looked at them once in a while and congratulated myself on having such awesome stickers.

At the library circulation desk, we have big, round stickers that proclaim, "I got my library card today!" They are, in a word, spectacular.

(If you can get past the fact that they look like the stickers a kid would get in a dentist's or doctor's office. That creeps me out a little bit. Guess what? Stickers are NOT cool enough to make up for shots.)

Kids are besides themselves when I give them a library card sticker after they get their library card. Wear it with pride, kid! I've even had adults ask me for one. Adults who've had their library cards for years. Um..okay? I tell you what, the people need their stickers.

The blue sticker is actually the EXACT one we have at the library!

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Cycling We Will Go...

So, I go to a cycling class once a week at the gym. The gym has quite a few different classes, but I like this one because:

1. You don't need any extra equipment.
2. Cycling doesn't involve too much coordination, so I'm not jumping around in front of a mirror embarassing myself and others.
3. I get to be relatively anonymous in a dark room with all the bikes in a circle.
4. The music is loud and distracting.
5. I like to have someone else telling me how hard to push instead of challenging myself all the time.

So, cycling class. Good stuff.

But in reference to #4, a lot of times a really good song will come on and I just want to sing along. Which would be kind of weird. Because whenever someone does look like they're singing along a little bit, I make fun of them in my head.

And yet I just want to do the same thing. I have a problem, because whenever a decently good song comes on that I actually know the WORDS to, the desire to sing along is overwhelming. So I have to hold back quite a bit in that cycling class.

I guess I can just take out my frustration by pedaling harder or something.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Read This. Good Luck.

As one of the more "technically-savvy" library workers, I'm often asked by patrons for help on the computers.

Anything from Facebook, setting up email, Googling...I've even typed up an email for someone in Spanish (he had it written out).

I find that the hardest thing to help with...the most confusing...the most frustrating...

it's the word verification box.

SERIOUSLY. Yahoo mail is the worst at this. The patron and I will be squinting at the screen at letters and numbers so welded together that it's nearly impossible to read it. In fact, it IS sometimes impossible. We'll keep refreshing the page to see if we can get something halfway legible.

I guess it's because "they" want real people signing up for email. But guess what? Real people can only squint their eyes and furrow their brows so much. Drives me bananas.

Helping people on the computers is tricky enough without places like Yahoo mail making it even worse. I'm sitting there with a person who has used a computer maybe twice in her life, trying to help her set up an email account or explaining the concept of double-clicking or introducing the wonders of Google. I'm already on edge because I grew up knowing this stuff. How am I supposed to explain it when I can't even remember how I learned?

Anyway. Here: Try these on for size.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


As I was writing out a list of my favorite smells, I realized that hand sanitizer made it on the list.

This may seem strange, but I love the superclean smell of hand sanitizer. Maybe it's because my hands touch so many pieces of library material each day. I can actually feel it on my hands when I've touched so many books and CDs and DVDs and talking books that come in from all kinds of people and have been who knows where.

And when I don't have time to wash my hands, it's comforting to be able to grab a quick squirt of hand sanitizer. Ahhh, fresh and clean.

Have you ever seen the tv show Monk? Hilarious. Anyway, Adrian Monk, the detective, has his assistant carry around wipes so after he shakes someone's hand or touches something not-so-clean, he can wipe the germs off. Hmmm. Maybe I need an assistant to carry around hand sanitizer for me.

And those little hand sanitizer stations I keep seeing around in public places? I love them! I use them every time I see them. The automatic ones are especially neat. And the ones with foam...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Animal Crackers in My Soup

Over a year ago, I discovered that I was completely in love with animal crackers.

They're perfect!

1. Not too sweet.
2. Not too fattening.
3. Can double as toys when you're bored.
4. Fun to eat their body parts off.
5. Very dippable.

I've had them dipped in honey, peanut butter, melted chocolate, and icing....and I've had them plain. Every way is delicious.

They're also fun to share. When I was still in college, I would take them to classes and choir practice and distribute them to people around me. Really. Who doesn't like animal crackers?

And when you get to the bottom of the bag, you'll find all those little pieces to crunch. The feet, heads, and tails that've broken off, all waiting there for you.

Having trouble smiling? Go get yourself some animal crackers.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I love my nose.

I have lots of different favorite smells. Usually they're my favorites because they remind me of something or someone. I have happy memories associated with smells.

So here's a list of some of my favorite smelly things:

1. Old books
2. Freshly mowed grass
3. Christmas trees
4. Chocolate chip cookies baking
5. Spring rain
6. Wood
7. Vanilla
8. Hand sanitizer
9. Babies' heads
10. Fresh bread
11. Laundry
12. Coffee brewing
13. Campfires
14. Strawberries
15. Lilacs
16. Basements

Hm...some of these are kind of strange. Others have definite memories associated with them. What're your favorite smells? Think about it...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Snackin' on Healthy Food is What We Like to Do...

(This blog title is from a Barney song. A song I think of practically every time I think about eating healthy.)

Eating something healthy does not cancel out eating something, um, not healthy. But it makes you feel a little bit better.

Eating healthy things is difficult in the winter, when all you may want to do is huddle under a blanket and eat comforting sorts of foods. Fruits and vegetables aren't as readily available as they are in the summer.

I've been finding lots of good recipes lately, though, that help make me a little more enthusiastic about eating things that are good for me. The trouble is, making good food from scratch with fresh ingredients takes more work and more time. Certainly more time than heating up macaroni and cheese or opening a box of Oreos...

But in the long run, it's worth it. What I put into my body now affects the rest of my life. I need good fuel, not a quick salty or sweet fix.

I found this delicious recipe from and modified it slightly.

Banana Bran Muffins

1 cup buttermilk
1 ½ cups wheat bran
1 egg
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 ripe banana, mashed
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup oat bran
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup raisins
¼ cup coconut

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease muffin cups or line with liners.
2. In medium bowl, mix buttermilk with wheat bran. In another bowl, beat together egg, sugar, applesauce, banana, and vanilla.
3. In a large bowl, stir together flour, oat bran, baking soda, and baking powder. Stir buttermilk mixture and egg mixture into flour mixture until flour is just moistened. Stir in walnuts, raisins, and coconut. Spoon batter into muffin cups.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until toothpick used to test comes out clean.

Next time, I'm going to add less sugar and see how that goes. The original recipe called for blueberries, but I added raisins and coconut instead because I had a bad blueberry/bran muffin experience. Also, I always use 1 cup skim milk mixed with 1 tablespoon vinegar instead of buttermilk, because we never have any around.


Friday, March 4, 2011

Bathtime for Neville

The title of this post reminds me of those children's books that try to take something scary and turn it into something fun. Like, Elmo Goes to the Dentist or Doctor. See, kids? Elmo takes a bath and doesn't drown. Elmo gets a shot and doesn't get hurt.

Well, Elmo was wrong. You don't suddenly realize that while you were busy worrying you got the shot and never even noticed. You do feel it. And it does hurt.


In the hopes of helping Neville to continue to grow, I've started giving him a bath in the sink every day. Watering him isn't enough, anymore. His leaves need to be splashed.

What would be useful in this case would be one of those sprayer things that are in grocery store produce sections. Every couple minutes - a fresh spray of mist. Unfortunately, there's no room on my desk for pretty much anything else. So I have to rinse Neville the old-fashioned way, like he was a head of broccoli.

The air in the library office is pretty dry, so he doesn't stay wet for while. But temporarily, he looks shiny and fresh, like he's in a tropical rainforest.

I think his leaves are getting longer. But that may just be because he's trying to reach into the drawer filled with chocolate that's right next to him. One false move, Neville...

Thursday, March 3, 2011



Well, this is a big day. This is my 100th post!
How in the world I have been able to come up with 99 other posts, I have no idea.

And my biggest fear about blogging is that I'm going to run out of ideas. What if nothing new happens? What if my library patrons keep saying the same things and doing the same things? What if I lose my creativity?

Now, to prove that I've still got it, I'm going to write out 100 witty comments that I just thought up:

Yeah, right.

We'll just have to see how it goes. Who knows? I may sit down to write one day and have nothing to say. I guess that's happened already, though. And that's what YouTube is for.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

We're All In This Together, Spring

I feel like spring is holding back just a bit. Waiting for something.

So I feel like it's my duty to call it forth. Here are a couple ideas I came up with to usher spring in quickly:

1. Dress like it's 70 degrees instead of 30. If spring sees that you're ready, it will feel more ready.

2. Ignore the snow. Pretend it doesn't exist. In fact, only acknowledge the melting snow. When you see the water, exclaim, "Spring showers bring May flowers!" and gesture grandly with an umbrella.

3. If you should see a bud on a tree or in the ground, get up really close to it and whisper words of encouragement. Its bravery should be applauded.

4. Eat spring-ish things. Like ice cream cones. Or watermelon. And eat them outside so spring will notice that you are heating up with or without it.

5. Say "Spring has sprung!" loudly and often.

6. Organize a game of frisbee or tag outside. Happy feet running on top of the ground will stimulate grass growth.

7. Avoid "Negative Nancys" who spread cold and gloom everywhere they go. You don't need people around you who believe that spring will never come.

8. Each morning, do the dance of spring. This is different for everybody, but for me it involves mostly skipping.

9. Plant fake flowers outside in the snow. This will encourage real flowers to bloom.

10. Put on your sunglasses and prepare for spring!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Just Your Everyday Average Super Cool Librarian

Some people have the wrong idea about the library. And librarians.

I'm talking about stereotypes.

Sometimes people will come up to the desk and start talking very softly or even whispering to me. When patrons do this, I take a certain delight in speaking a little louder than normal, just to show that we are a cool, hip library where no one has to whisper!

I had one man tell me that I don't look like a typical librarian. Um, thank you, sir. I'll just take that as a compliment. I'm assuming he meant that:

1. I'm not old.
2. I don't wear glasses.
3. My hair isn't pulled back into a bun.
4. I don't wear cardigans. Very often.
5. I'm not grouchy.

It's kind of a shame that people still think that all librarians are cantankerous and like to shush people. It seems like whenever I read about a librarian in a fiction book, she (of course she's also a woman...) fits that mold.

I can't speak for every librarian, but I can tell you that I work in a library because I love books and I love helping people.

I certainly try and do my part to change people's ideas about the library and librarians. The library is pretty different from what it was fifty years ago. What isn't? But a lot of people who never use it don't get the chance to see how much we have to offer.