Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Busy With What?

I've been crazy busy, although I couldn't tell you with what. Just the usual ... working ... catching up with people. I sure haven't been knitting much.

For giggles, I did stumble upon this today - a new librarian figure from the Lego Minifigure Series 10*.  I have already emailed the Lego folks with a request to purchase 10 of them.  Wouldn't it be fun if I could have a lego librarian for each of my co-workers when I go to conference in October?  *Turns out they do not let you choose which figure you can purchase no matter how many you want :-(

The title of the book is a joke derived from the movie, Party Girl.  It's not a good movie, but I guess as a librarian I have to know about it.  Anyway, the party girl in question ends up working in a library.  When someone asks for On the Origin of Species, the protagonist hears the title as, Oranges and Peaches.... you gotta love those people at Lego.

My exciting news is that I really am going on a cruise.  Not just any cruise, but a knitting cruise.  Yes, Nautical Knitting with Franklin Habit and Melissa Leapman, here I come!  The Gypsy and I will be sharing a room, taking classes and exploring Belize City and Cozumel this coming December.  CAN'T WAIT!!!  Just for the record, I think I first decided I wanted to go on a cruise about 1970 when my mother went on one and talked about what a great time it was.   Don't know why I've never done it until now, but better late than never, right?

People's reaction to hearing I'm going on a knitting cruise has been mostly astonishment that there is such a thing (plus a couple of people who, when I was calling it a "cruise for knitters" heard it as a "cruise for *iggers" which does not make any sense because not only do I not use the N word, I would not qualify for such a cruise, so I call it a "knitting cruise" now).  

Also, today someone said she didn't realize there would be enough knitters for a whole ship.  I told her I thought that only a small portion of the ship would be knitters to which she replied, "Oh, so there will be normal people on the cruise too?"


Monday, July 22, 2013

A Mixed Bag

I had a very special little visitor last Friday morning. His mom calls him the "baby burrito" when he's swaddled like this:

In the meantime, I have been entrusted with care of tomatoes and other such. They are rotting on the vine and I can't figure out what I can do to save them. I've had wilt before, but nothing like this (from what I can tell, it's blossom end rot, but I can't find a non-chemical remedy that doesn't involve more work than I can handle).  Anyone have any suggestions?  I feel terrible; The Girls will get back from camp and find out I killed their tomatoes:

And finally, being a masochist at heart, I started a sweater for Girl-child.  She wants a red sweater for her birthday/Christmas.  Don't know what makes her think I can make something that may fit her after my most recent fail.

On a brighter note, I went to the theater to see Far Out Isn't Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story last weekend, which was fascinating.  I also watched Dazed and Confused (Criterion Collection from the library) which was quite remarkable.  I remember nights just like that around the same time period (1976). 

I'm also thinking that I will take the Nautical Knitting Cruise whether I can afford it or not because tonight I'm feeling like I should throw caution to the wind...

Sunday, July 14, 2013

New and Old

I continue to receive house-warming gifts ... Friday I was given this beautiful cyclamen which looks perfect in the new pot I picked up at Flamingos Divine Finds earlier in the day:

I also received this ... found it in my place Thursday when I made a quick pit stop at home between the hospital (Auntie had a blood transfusion - doing better now) and work.  It was great to have such a wonderful surprise, especially on such a difficult day:

In the meantime, I am trying to take inventory so that I can divest myself of the multitude of pretty things that have been collected by my family for generations. I hope that my children will each find a couple of things that they like so that I can unload the rest without with a minimum of guilt.

If you are in the market for Haviland, Belleek, Lalique, Royal Copenhagen Christmas plates, hand painted items, etc. please let me know (am I repeating myself?  I really am ready to get rid of the stuff now).

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Speakers

Steven Levitt, author of Freakonomics and Super Freakonomics was the speaker at Opening Session.  He didn't say much about libraries, and was not particularly inspiring, but then he started talking about some research he did with prostitutes, which turned out to be interesting.  I guess he does a lot of unusual research, which is how he's made his way in the profession.

I had checked Freakonomics (audio) out of the library but forgot about it as I was busy listening to Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris, so I haven't read or listened to any of Levitt's books (yet).

While I know that Temple Grandin's story is an amazing one, nothing could quite prepare me for just how awe-inspiring she really is.  Her talk was informative and accessible, plus she has a good sense of humor.  I bought her book, The Autistic Brain (the only book I purchased at the conference) and I look forward to reading it.

I would also like to note that she pointed out that, especially in her day, mothers were often blamed for any kind of unusual behavior in kids, which reminded me of the only good advice my mother ever gave me: "Don't blame yourself ... everyone else will do that for you".

Just sayin'.

I also saw Oliver Stone interviewed along with the co-author of his latest book, Peter Kuznick.  The book is called, The Untold History of the United States.  Let me just say that I think Oliver Stone is an ass.  He is guilty of one-sided-know-it-allness in the same way as the writers of stupid textbooks are ... just from the opposite side.  He offended my fellow librarians from the South and Texas to the point that someone actually got up during the Q & A to defend herself (she's a librarian in Texas).  He also talked about how awful television is and how greedy and stupid the television industry people are - did anybody else notice how ironic that was coming from a wealthy movie maker?  Their mention of theories about what would have happened if Henry Wallace had been FDR's VP instead of Truman when FDR died were, IMHO, particularly ridiculous.

The Paula Poundstone event was a blast (thanks to Rose the Gypsy for enlightening me about Ms Poundstone).  There were other funny people* who spoke/read too, but let me say that when PP was talking about her son it made me realize what Boy-child and I look like to others (we have been told that we are like a comedy act, the way we are with each other).

Also, I noticed while we were walking out that there was lots of cheese and crackers on the tables, but all the wine bottles were empty ... who did they think they were dealing with?  Just because we wear cardigans and sensible shoes doesn't mean we don't like to have a good time!

Alice Walker was there too, but I was a little disappointed as I was looking for a storyteller, not a political activist.  The really terrific surprise was Octavia Spencer at the Closing Session Tuesday morning.  She is smart, grounded, an activist AND she has a wonderful sense of humor.  I could not stay to get her book, but if you know any child-sleuths, Nancy Drew and/or Scooby Doo fans, look for The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit, coming out this October.

*The other comedians/writers at the comedy event were Ross Mathews, Nicole Knepper, Paul Rudnick, and Selena Coppock (who won a Moth slam for the story she re-told at our event).  I also got a copy of Treasure Island by Sara Levine - no idea what it's about!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

ALA 2013

It was quite a trip, I must say...while Chicago is not my favorite place for a conference (McCormick Place is too far away from anything else), there's always a lot to see and do at an American Library Association Conference.

All of us who are poor and traveling at our own expense stayed at Hosteling International.  It was like this mural in the stairwell was made to welcome us - a whole wall with this at its center:

There was very little sightseeing.  Actually, there was pretty much none.

But I did get some good eats.  I mooched from as many free food events as possible, plus I ate at Yolk, P. F. Chang's (I can not resist chicken lettuce wraps), Eleven City Diner and Miller's Pub.  I understand that Miller's is an institution of sorts (good burger, too early in the day for a beer though).

I completely fell apart as far as my resistance to free stuff.  I got a few books.  Actually, I had to check my bag coming home because it was too heavy for me to lift into an overhead bin.

I also was not going to go to Loopy Yarns, but unexpectedly found myself there one day.  Didn't buy yarn.  Did buy a bag.  Turned out to be very useful.  (They were very kind and gave me my birthday coupon from March, which I had not gotten because they did not have my updated email.  In the spirit of returning a favor, I sent two people there for yarn and bags.  I'm all about spreading the love, dontcha know).

The one good thing about McCormick:

These are the people I saw speak/be interviewed:  Steven Levitt, Temple Grandin, Oliver Stone, Alice Walker, Paula Poundstone (and a few other comedians), and Olivia Spencer.  More about them later.