Friday, December 12, 2008

Stand By Me

I won, now what? Forward Motion!

I won with a slim 50,132 words. This year's story was difficult, because I was trying to make it contemporary fiction rather than all-fantasy.

So reworking it will be a challenge and I've wondered how to go about it. Forward Motion is a writing community. There are classes and challenges. That's one thought.
The other thought is finding a group here, or enrolling in a course.

But do I have what it takes to enter an MFA program for creative writing. Could I do it the way I did library school? Part-time squeezing classes in with family and work obligations? And then what about work obligations? Sometimes work is very demanding.

Right now, for instance. But I'll say no more and get back to work.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

NaNoWrimo 2008

Dang. It's Chick Lit this year.

The working title of this year's NaNo novel is What a Difference a Dave Makes or The No Sugar Added Romance of Carmela Elias.

It's not as frothy as it sounds. Right now it's kind of dark and I have no idea if anyone, but the aforementioned Dave will open up a store and save his life thereby.

It's never too late to join the madness that is National Novel Writing Month.

Please join in the fun and write the great novel you've been dreaming about for ever.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


I give thanks I've lived to see the day when we have our first African-American President.
I am grateful for the power of change.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Middle Name

Obama supporters are adopting Hussein as a middle name, at least informally on places like Facebook.

Now I'm an Obama supporter, but I've never had a middle name. I don't want one now. Is this something like wearing a flag pin? Will I be considered "un-patriotic" if I don't call myself Eri Hussein? You get my drift.

I think it's cute and a cool way for people to recognize each other. A not-so-secret handshake, if you will. That said, I will not add Hussein as a middle name, just for people to recognize me. I think it may be a little insulting to those who are named Hussein by their parents in honor of a relative. According to this article in the NY Times, from way back in June, Obama doesn't mind.
I hope he doesn't mind that I'm not adding a middle name. I like my name the way it is.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Grieving at Work

It's a rainy, gray, cool day. I had the day off from work and I realize I'm grieving.
My boss is leaving.
I think workplaces don't allow time or space for grieving the changes and loss that come with daily life.

We're supposed to embrace change. Change very often brings loss: a colleague moves up, a supervisor moves away. Often there's a domino effect. A space is opened and another colleague moves into it. That leaves yet another space somewhere. How is any organization supposed to function with such shifts in personnel?

Or perhaps the shifts in personnel lead to new dynamics in the workplace. It's not the same-old same-old anymore. Perhaps a new boss has an agenda that differs from what the old boss had. Perhaps that agenda means everybody get out of your comfort zone!

Peter Hutchinson brings up the Kübler-Ross model for dealing with loss. One of his suggestions in dealing with the Depression Stage is to "provide vision, a picture of the new normal."

I think very often supervisors try, but are not very successful in providing this in a way employees can take to heart. When grief is very deep, the catch phrases of an organizations vision or mission statement can seem hollow.

After all, if they meant something, so & so might not be leaving. Or such & such a decision might not have been made so quickly. If only life in the workplace were more thought fully measured and if only we had the kind of support we might have in our homes, with our friends and families to get our backs.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Remember That

Not generally a fan of country music, but this song has the best message:

Go Jessica Simpson!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

MNSHO: Yes this is library-related

No to Sarah Palin. Anyone who pressures a public librarian to ban books is out.
It's that simple.
Just say no.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Teaching Moment

Yet another new celebrity Teacherinthetrenches writes from her job working the front lines of special education!

She's such a good writer. Her dedication to her profession, her zeal for her students and colleagues alike really comes across.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008

My New Celebrity

The Daily Rhyme is my new, favorite verse site. My favorite contemporary humorous poet, Scott Emmons, formerly of Word Chowder has created a blog--where he can easily update--and readers can be easily informed of such updates--his poetry.

His latest is about VP contender, Joe Biden.

With the launch of this latest website, the announcement of Barack Obama's running mate, I am hopeful once again.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tuesday Haiku

The week’s work pulls me
powerful vortex drawing
heart away from home

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday Haiku

Pre-dawn alarm. Snooze.
Quick breakfast with coffee buzz
Wake up to new week

Monday, July 28, 2008

Autism: It's all about the fans

Box fans, standing fans, table fans, that is.

My son has always been attracted to fans. In fact, that was one of the most "autistic" things about him in his early years. By the age of 2 1/2, he was always noticing fans in windows from great distances. We'd be driving and he'd say quietly, "there's a fan in the window."

I would have no idea what he was talking about until we'd get closer and sure enough, high up on the 6th floor of some apartment building off Main Street, there would be a box fan sitting in a window.

Well, now he's making videos of fans and uploading them to YouTube.

I have to admit, I'm very impressed. He tells all about a particular fan, shows the parts and speaks very clearly and with obvious understanding of his subject.

Now, he's not the only one with fan videos. There are some videos that are from antique fan collectors, but some are from quirky folks like my son. Not every fan enthusiast is autistic, but we do wonder.

I'm glad my son has found a little community online.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Library management and the economy, silly

I am not a very prolific blogger. I really regret that I do not have a lot of time to come here and write.

I especially wish I had more to say that was "professional" and devoted to librarianship.

I've got very little except to let you all in on my view of public library management: it's hard.
It's a balancing act. You're public, but to keep your sanity there have got to be boundaries and when patrons cross those, we staff get all nervous and tense.

So on one hand, we want to be more accessible. Kiosks, not desks. Roaming librarians with PDAs looking up info for you.
I'm not sure I like that. With the public using the free resources of the library more than ever--because what's inexpensive and free out there is shrinking--we've got more people in the building than ever.

They are signing up for cards and hopping on to our computers. They are tracking stocks with our online tools. They are checking out dvds in droves, I think just because they're free. Why go rent when the library is free?

So I think with more people coming in to use the library, we need our boundaries more than ever. I do want to make things easier and more welcoming for our patrons, but I really want my boundaries.

Monday, June 09, 2008

They're here!!!

The fireflies are here! The fireflies are here!!!
This evening we took a walk...more about that later and afterwards I looked out our window, wistfully, thinking, "what a lovely night it is, a good night to sit and watch fireflies."

I saw what I thought was a bit of a glow on the tip of a hosta leaf in my front yard. Could it be? Naaaaah...probably the reflection from a car.

But then it happened again.

I got closer to the leaf. It was! It was!!! I'm so happy!

Then there were a few more before the mosquitoes began biting.

The walk...well, it was because my spouse and I have been married 24 years today. The walk was sans child and just because we used to way back when...and now I'll remember the fireflies coming out on our anniversary.

Here's a link to the Wikipedia page on fireflies.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

June Bugs

In case you have been hibernating, it's almost summer but the Summer Reading Program season is upon us. This year the theme is Catch the Reading Bug.

As far as bugs are concerned though, I'm wondering about fireflies. Lightning bugs. Evidently, they're a big deal in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Here's a link to synchronous firefly watching in the Smokies.

I'm researching this because it's been hot. It's been humid. Prime conditions for firefly viewing here in the great Midwest, but I'm wondering if our cooler than usual spring has had any effect. Where are our lightning bugs? One of the great joys of summer here is sitting on the front step with an icy beverage in hand and watching the fireflies.

Am I just impatient or do we have a problem here?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

My son, the movie lover

Today, the family and I are planning to see the Indiana Jones movie.
It did not get wonderful reviews and I have no idea how my son will take it. He's 17, autistic and into movies with bad language, bathroom humor and nudity.

We told him it would be like the stunt show we saw at Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios. He said, "Cool."

He's reading right now, a book he'd read back in third grade. He said it's easy (it's a level 1 reader) and I wonder why he's reading it. He often does things that match what might have been done in a certain year. If the dates and days of the week correspond to the dates and days in bygone times, that's what sets him on his current course.

He's not stuck in the past, just exploring it.

Anyway with movies, when we took him to see a Star Wars movie (the one with Jar Jar Binks), he kept grabbing my arm, pressing the light-up button on my watch, wailing quietly, "it'll be over soon!"
Our hope was that he'd absorb some stuff for socialization on the playground. Oh well.

He was getting past certain babyish movies, not fully out of Disney animation (well, who is these days, Pixar rocks!), but We, the Grown Ups were starting to get tired of them.

Later that summer we all went to see "Austin Powers, The Spy Who Shagged Me," and it was an eye opener. One friend criticized me for taking my little wee son to a movie with suggestive and somewhat bawdy humor and the occasional bad word. I thought she was nuts for taking her kids to see movies with more violence in them.

Anyway, it was one of my son's favorite movies. I think he got it into his template: "good movies=nudity, grossness, bad words and mom & dad laughing their heads off"

Friday, May 09, 2008

Can librarianship be conservative? I don't think so.

I've recently become acquainted with someone who wants to change the library profession. 

She's not a first-adopter. Rather she's conservative and wants librarianship values to be more in line with her personal ones. She reads Shush and other blogs listed in the sidebar there.

I understand some things about conservatism, and occasionally I share some of those views. 

I am not, however, a fan of President Bush, nor do I think that the United States is infallible in its national policies.

And I am staunchly liberal as a librarian. I believe in the right to read whatever, the right to listen to whatever. People who complain that we let youth check out R-rated movies don't understand that the ratings are NOT the law--they're self-imposed by the motion picture industry--including theaters. And I'd prefer that people who complain about this educate themselves about what their kids are watching.

Sometimes a PG-13 movie has violence that is more disturbing than a few cuss-words and a full-frontal.

My new acquaintance would like to impose restrictions in public libraries for this purpose. She thinks that when we don't, her values are being dismissed. 

I'll say that's all well and good for a private library, maybe a private school library or a church or synagogue library. But in a public library, we are open to all sorts of viewpoints. That is the beauty of liberalism: Liberals will support a conservative's right to her/his opinion and values and the public library is the place--both physically and symbolically where this support is most evident.

And so, I am wondering, if there are more like my new acquaintance out there and will they try to change the profession? Do they know that they shoot themselves in the foot if they impose restrictions on the right to read? Because first it's the right to read. Then it's the right to think for oneself.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Facebook Dilemma: Be nice to that nerdy girl

Say you're on Facebook, or some other social networking website. When you contact someone from your past or present, and click on that "Add Friend" button, how much time do you give them to respond before you start thinking they are not interested? 

And how many people do you add as friends, who are just lovely acquaintances, colleagues or folks you know who are just on Facebook? People you might see almost every day anyway?

In other words, is Facebook making you a better friend or a shallower one? For an interesting take on Facebook, please read Scott Dobson-Mitchell's excellent blog piece about how Facebook seems like a continuation of the kind of socialization you might experience in high school.

Maybe that's why I'm on Facebook. In high school, I was--or felt like I was--a socially outcast fat, braces-wearing nerd of a girl. In Facebook, while I don't feel like Ms. Popularity, I feel that I'm among friends and more in control of my destiny. You all can't see that I'm a pizza-face this morning, or in desperate need of exercise or abdominoplasty while I'm sending you some cyber refreshment or feeding your virtual pets.

And my friends are so kind on Facebook. They feed my pet, pet my cat and poke me, all in the nicest way. Perhaps there is nothing wrong with this at all. Is this because we are NOT f2f that we have to be extra nice to one another?

I give up. I like Facebook. I like the ease of social networking online. So please don't diss me if I send you some Good Karma, a Lucky Cat or a charming invitation to participate in something silly, but not morally reprehensible.

Just don't poke too hard.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sometimes a cigar...

...just burns me up.

We stopped at a cafe yesterday and were very troubled by the sight of a three year old girl walking around the outside tables holding a cigar.

It turns out her dad was inside ordering an espresso and he'd asked her to hold his cigar for him. I was filled with utter loathing for this person--and I don't like being filled with utter loathing, but I really, really, really hate cigars.

To me they smell nasty and they're symbolic (phallicly, I guess) of an aggressive male type of behavior. And I generalize and I know it's bad but I figure the guy drives a Hummer and thinks its his god-given right to drive a big ass gas-guzzling macho-shithead of a car.

What the heck was he doing getting his 3 year old daughter to hold his LIT cigar so he could waltz inside and get an espresso?

I was so angry. I wanted to call the child abuse hotline. Should I have? 

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Monster Name

Evil Ravager from the Isle

April is cruel and it has nothing to do with taxes

This year, the branches are still bare even though it's past April 15th. We went for a walk last night, my spouse and I and it was a windy evening, although a little warm and springy feeling.

The bare branches tossing against that sunset sky with its seashell colors evoked February, not April. I felt kind of sad. I know that in a few neighborhoods, just south of where I live, the trees are leafing and the buds are budding. And truly, I hate it when it gets too hot too fast.

The Bradford pear trees in the city, my neighbor's ornamental cherry and one redbud have started to bloom. I miss my pink dogwood, though. Last year, killing frost destroyed the blooms. This year, I see the buds, but where are those lovely pink flowers?

I'm anxious. I'm not much of a gardener, so I rely on my trees.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


A good friend of mine told me recently as we were complaining about how little time we seemed to have, that the older we get, the more important it is to spend time with the people you love and cherish, doing things you really want to do.

That is all for now.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Making Friends With The Mouse

We're going to Walt Disney World for spring break. I can't believe it. How...uh...touristy and bourgeois?

In any event, it's something like a pilgrimage and I suspect our son will really love it. Hmmm. Maybe he'll hate it. He's too old to get all melty over Mickey, but he said he'd hug the princesses, if they're around.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Hallelujah, I'm A Democrat Again!

I caucused tonight. In Kansas, there is no primary.
So we caucused and I reregistered as a Democrat.
I had registered as a Republican a few years ago to vote in a school board election primary. Believe me, it was the only sane thing to do at the time.
Well, it just seemed more important this time around to be another Kansas Democrat.

Anyway, we stood outside in the cold for about an hour. My toes froze. We ran into one of my spouse's colleagues and then one of mine. We stood outside and filled out our registration forms, or re-registration forms and I ran into some more people I know--which is a hazard of being a public librarian and being involved in lots of stuff like the gym and Jewish community here.

It's a tiny little world.

And we complained about how we'd be getting chilblains, standing outside in the cold and wet. Like they might have in Little House on the Prairie.

There were more folks for Obama than for Clinton, but there was even a tiny table for Edwards.

Go Super Tuesday!

It's now Super Wednesday--and just a couple of other things I want to note:
We were behind this tall, handsome guy and his daughter. At one point, he's talking into his cell phone and saying "we need crowd control...yeah, people don't know where to go or where to park...we need help with the traffic"

And lo and behold--police appear.

So, who was this masked man?

I saw tons of library patrons. And at the library, we got tons of calls about the Caucus. Tried to be even-handed and let people know the Republicans were caucusing on Saturday, but lots of people kept saying, "I want to switch. Can I do that at the caucus?"

Yes. Really easily.

Today, it's snowing a bit. Not the storm we expected, but enough to cancel school and the community center classes (waaah, no push-ups for me this morning!).

And Obama won Kansas.

Same Old, Same Old

How disappointing the Newbery award choice can be.
Read about it here.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Go Homer!

I periodically Google various people from my past. One of them is my college chemistry professor, Homer Jacobson,.

Well, for years, what's been appearing are site after site of creationist propaganda, using an article he wrote as proof against evolution.

I Googled tonight and finally read in the Times, that Homer has refuted the article.

Two things I wonder about. One, all these years of Googling and it never occurred to Homer to refute until now? I mean the Internet has been around for over ten years now and he's a scientist! And with all the creationist stuff floating around, I thought for sure he'd be ticked at it.

Unless he really was a creationist.

And that would have created a lot of cognitive dissonance in me to know that.

And why now? I guess Times articles and blogs linking to them are finally getting into Google.

And then, shoot, I get NY Times headlines. Why didn't I read this back when it was first published?

oh well. The hazards of Googling people from the past.