Thursday, January 29, 2015

See You Soon, Big Baboon

I feel that there are few things on this earth more gratifying than reading to children.

Seriously, if *all* my job involved was storytime, I would be a happy camper.

Tuesday is my big storytime day - I have 3 groups. Though each storytime is 30 minutes, the day simply flies by. At 5PM, I am utterly spent. And utterly blissful.

It doesn't matter how many times a sweet voice calls me "Miss Laura." I can't get enough.

When a child starts at the very back edge of the storytime rug, clinging to a parent, and then by the end of our time together has crept up closer and is hanging on every word, I feel like I won the lottery.

Even when I have a particularly rowdy bunch, there is always at least one moment when everyone is silent. When a story has captured the attention of every child and adult in the room. When I sneak a glance around, taking my eyes from the pages, and see mouths hanging open and eyes fixed in concentration.

The moment passes; we jump up to sing a song. I'm a rock star surrounded by adoring fans.

At the end, right before we move to the craft tables, we sing our goodbye song. Little voices pipe up proudly, everyone knows this well since we sing it every week:

See you later, alligator; in a while, crocodile.
Give a hug, ladybug; blow a kiss, jellyfish.
See you soon, big baboon; out the door, dinosaur.
Take care, polar bear; wave goodbye, butterfly!
(Source: this lovely video)

Hugs, shy thank-you's, waves. They show me their completed crafts, bursting with pride.

My heart is so full.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Ding Dong Merrily

Before Christmas, I participated in something new. I volunteered as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army.

Crazy, right? I always wondered who these people were that I saw ringing bells outside Wal-Mart. Seems simple enough, though. I mean, anyone can stand and ring a bell.

I got involved through my library and the local Rotary. Minimal instructions were given, but I showed up at the appointed time at a nearby shopping center. I was bundled up and ready to go for two hours.

The volunteer I was replacing passed me the bell and apron, and I started ringing my little heart out.

And ringing.

And ringing.

And ringing.

Has it been two hours yet? What? 10 minutes?

Let's just say that I really underestimated the toughness required to stick it out in the elements. 

The dancing around was a necessity, really. Had to keep the blood circulating.

I was pleasantly surprised at how many people gave. Most donations were a dollar, but it varied. Some gave on their way into the store, while others promised to give on the way out. Either way, they got a smile and a "Merry Christmas!" from me. (And the guy who just said "Aren't you cold?" and did not donate got a bonus fake laugh.) 

Honestly, it was a joy to feel like I was helping in some small way. And all the lovely people I met made the experience feel truly gratifying. And, not to brag, but my crazy good bell-ringing skills and winning smile had people stuffing $$$ in that red bucket like nobody's business.

Of course, awkwardness finds me no matter what, and bell-ringing was no exception. I kept running into the problem of whether or not to keep ringing while someone was fumbling in a purse or wallet. I didn't want to stop and stare, but it seemed strange to RINGRINGRING when they were standing there in the act. 

I don't mean to rush you, but RINGRINGRING.

By the end of the two hours, most of my body parts were numb and I was more than willing to relinquish the bell, which by now just felt like an extension of my hand. 

Uncomfortably cold? Yes. Lengthy and at times boring? Yes. Will I do it again next year?

Also yes!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Smelling Chocolate Once Again

New Year's Day: the ultimate Monday.

And what a perfect day to plunge back into this blog, which YES I have neglected for an entire year. What of it?

Time to begin again. To discipline myself by writing and sharing. To put my feelings into thoughts and my thoughts into words. And then to present them to the internet.


Beginning January 1, 2014, I became Head of Youth Services at the library I have worked at full-time since my college graduation. In August 2014, I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a master's degree in Library and Information Science. In short, it has been the fastest year of my life.

If you're joining me for the first time, or just trying to catch up and remember what is up with the chocolate, take a look back at some posts through the years:

On introverts

On being a librarian

On the children's library

On The Hunger Games

On hope

On Harry Potter

On nutrition