Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Random stuff

The stressed collective staggers against the consenting body. Yep, that's the text they asked me to put here to prove this blog is mine. I'm going to try blogging for cash, selling out to the advertisers, in an effort to earn more money so we can enjoy our upcoming retirement.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Oregon is Beautiful!

Brian and I are really enjoying the scenery here in the Pacific Northwest. We spent the last two days driving through coastal Oregon, where it's cool and green, unlike home. Here's the rundown of the last few days (sorry no pictures, but my laptop is refusing to cooperate):

Sunday morning, we woke up to a toilet that wouldn't flush and no breakfast as advertised. We didn't complain about the breakfast, since we had stuff to eat and we just wanted out of there. We wandered through Redding, then headed for Arcata. There are fires burning in the mountains, and the smoke was pretty bad. Arcata was just as we remembered it from 6 years ago, and we had lunch in the same place we'd had ice cream in back then. After lunch we headed up the coast, stopping to eat canned soup near the docks in Brookings, Oregon. That was as far up the coast as we'd made it the last time we came up here, so the rest of the trip is new to us. We started looking for a motel after dinner - we decided to be more picky and less cheap after the last night's adventure - and found the perfect one on our third try. It was clean, quiet, and reasonable, and the owner was friendly.

On Monday, we went for a walk on the beach after breakfast and found lots of blackberry bushes, loaded with berries. We ate our fill, then walked back to the motel and checked out. We moseyed up the coast after that, stopping at various shops but not buying much, and stopping to take pictures of the beautiful scenery. The climate changed from high 70's and clear to high 60's and overcast around Port Orford (I think). The plant life got even more lush and green as well. We had dinner at Mo's in Newport - great food, good service and reasonably priced. Our table had an excellent view of the fishing boats in the harbor. We found a decent motel in the same town - nothing special, but acceptable.

Today was busy - the best day so far. We left early and had breakfast in Depoe Bay - huge portions for the money, and good. We drove through some of the most beautiful scenery, and took lots of pictures. I bought some silk and wool yarn in Lincoln City, to go with the handspun I've been working with in the car. We spent a few hours in Tillamook - first at a textile museum where we talked with some of the local crafters, then at the Tillamook cheese processing plant, where we had ice cream and bought some smoked chedddar and honey. We made it into Washington about 6:00, and started looking for a place to spend the night. There's not much between the border and Aberdeen, so we ended up at a place there. The room is large and well equipped, but the building is old (no soundproofing) and the neighbors are noisy.

Tomorrow, we're planning to check out the Olympic Peninsula and the rainforest, then spend the night in Port Angeles so we can board the ferry to Victoria, British Columbia the next day.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

I'm on vacation!

Hooray! Brian and I left this morning for a two-week trip to Seattle, to see his niece Kelly get married. The wedding's not until next Saturday, so we have a whole week to get there. We don't want to spend much time in California, since we've done a lot of traveling here already, so Brian drove all the way to Red Bluff today. That way we'll have more time to see coastal Oregon and Washington. We're staying in a really cheap motel - ugly on the outside, acceptable (barely) on the inside. I can't complain too much, though - for less than 40 bucks we get wifi and breakfast. I haven't taken any pictures yet, but I will in the morning. I'll post more later, when I have something intersting to report :)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I know, it's been a while

But I've been really busy! I know, I always say that. But since we opened the new library, it just seems like I have no time any more. I'm still working 40 hours a week, but when I get home, I'm so tired I can't think of anything to write. I used to be able to blog from the desk at work when we weren't so busy, but that's not an option now.

Here are some rough statistics on our new library:

We have averaged 2000-3000 items checked out each day, up from 300-500 a year ago.
(That also means we have to shelve that many books a day to keep up.)
In May, we had 90,000 visitors to the library; in June, 100,000.
And, we've signed up nearly 2000 kids for the summer reading program!
We're doing all this on less than twice the number of staff that we had a year ago.
Last week we lost 4 staff members - two were fired, one quit, and one transferred out.

But at least we're not bored - no chance of that.

I carpooled with Rachel today to save gas, so I was dropped off at work an hour early. I put up the desk schedule, which I had to change drastically because two people called in sick. I hope it's not too busy today - I have a lot of books to process.

A couple of weeks ago, I took the bookmobile to Anaheim for the American Library Association Annual Conference. On Sunday, they had a Parade of Bookmobiles - mine was one of nine participants. After the parade, we parked out back so the conference-goers could come out and tour the bookmobiles. There's an article in the OC Register about the event. Unfortunately, my generator wouldn't start, so I had no lights or air, but at least I didn't get towed in!

On Monday, I get Joseph all to myself. I'm planning to take him to Victoria Gardens, where they have a Thomas the Tank Engine store and a kiddie train ride, as well as fountains for the kids to play in. He's never been there, and I think he'll have a blast. I'll probably bring him to the library as well. I'll try to make time to post about it.

Brian and I are planning a vacation to Seattle next month, to attend his niece's wedding. I'm really looking forward to two weeks off from work, and we've never been to the western half of Washington State. I just wonder if we can afford it. I'll post more when our plans are more solid.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Some cool stuff I've seen recently

There's lots of websites devoted to funny pictures of cats. I found this picture on icanhascheezburger.com:

Humorous Pictures
see more crazy cat pics

There's lots more on the site - just click on the link above to see them.

Here's something else I found - Animator vs. Animation
Definitely worth checking out. The guy has an amazing imagination.

I've been really busy with the move to our new library. Our grand opening is this Saturday. I'll make sure and post some pictures of the new building next week.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Wanna see something pathetic?

Just check out Garfield minus Garfield - it's the old familiar Garfield comic strip, with Garfield and his dialogue removed, leaving Jon talking to himself in a most alarming way at times. At best he just seems lonely and pathetic. Sometimes the results are hilarious, though, and even better than the original comics, which can be rather lame on occasion.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Vacation's almost over - waaah!

One more day left, then back to work.  I don't want to go - I'm getting used to staying home, though I haven't actually been home that much.  On Monday, I ran around with Betsy, taking her to her doctor and a few shops.  On Tuesday, I took Jacob and Joseph out for a while before Joseph had to go to his mommy's house.  And Wednesday morning was spent taking Jacob to yet another mediation at the courthouse.  

I finally got to do something vacationy on Wednesday afternoon- I met Rachel for lunch at Panera,  then drove her to Mt. Baldy Village, where we hiked up a very steep hill.  We were quite surprised to find cabins about 1/2 mile up the trail, with electricity and running water.  The trail leveled out at this point and we were greatly relieved, but then it got steep again after a while.  We stopped to take a break where the trail came out of the woods, and sat on the rocks and admired the view of the town (which looked awfully tiny from up there) and the valley below.  Of course, we'd forgotten
to bring a camera, so we were unable to capture the view.  Rachel had brought her cell phone, but had no service until we reached that point.  We both called our significant others, then headed back to the car.  The trip down was much quicker, of course.

I was a little sore on Thursday, of course, but not too bad.  Brian called in sick for Thursday and Friday because he had hurt his neck at work, so I spent the day with him.  We ran around Apple Valley and Hesperia looking for ceramic wire insulators, but we couldn't find any.  Brian had to make do with plastic ones.

On Friday, Rachel and I drove to Old Town Temecula to do some antique shopping.  They had a lot of shops, but we didn't buy much.  There was one shop that had a huge collection of tools, but most of what was for sale was glass and chinaware.  I did get a miniature bookcase for my librarian action figure - now all she needs is a desk.  We had a nice dinner at Mimi's Cafe in San Bernardino on the way home.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Bible Trivia I

Here are some interesting verses from the book of Ecclesiastes:

Ecc. 1:9 "That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun." People often quote the end of this verse without knowing it's from the Bible. Solomon certainly was a wise man.

Ecc. 10:1 "Dead flies putrefy the perfumer's ointment, and cause it to give off a foul odor. So does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honor." We used to quote the first half of this verse when I worked as a fruit fly trapper. The entire verse would be good for the current presidential candidates to remember.

And here's the verse that best fits my current profession:
Ecc. 12:12 "And further, my son, be admonished by these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh." That was 3000 years ago. What would Solomon say if he walked into some of our modern libraries and bookstores?

There's lots more wisdom in this seldom-read book. I once did a devotion on our modern tendency to accumulate stuff, using verses from all over Ecclesiastes.

I'm taking a week off work, starting tomorrow. I had intended to have the whole week planned out, so that I don't waste any of this precious time, but so far I only have a few plans (not by my choice, either). I guess it will be just serendipity. I've got errands tomorrow, class Tuesday night, breakfast with Jacob on Wednesday after his court appointment, then get two new tires, and I don't know after that. I have some major cleaning I want to do, I want to make two or more woven lanyards for work, Rachel and I want to do some woodworking, and we want to go somewhere on Friday since we both have the day off. I guess I'll be busy enough, seeing it all written down. And I'd like to go for some long walks. Maybe I need two weeks! At least the weather is supposed to be nice.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Strange fact of the day

I frequently suffer from writer's block, which results in complaints from Rachel, who says I don't post enough. So, I came up with the idea of posting any strange facts I come across in my job as a reference "librarian" (I'm not really a librarian, just an assistant, but the patrons don't realize that.)

Anyway, here's the strange fact of the day:

Jim Jones,who founded the People's Temple and led over 900 of his followers to their death at his compound in Guyana in 1978, once earned money by selling pet monkeys door-to-door. I can't believe anyone would buy a live monkey from a door-to-door salesman. I read that he had quite an ability to manipulate people - maybe that's how he did it.

Pretty strange, don't you think? You have to admit it's more entertaining than "cute Joseph quote of the day."

Friday, December 07, 2007

Crazy patron!!!

We occasionally get weirdos in the library (okay, frequently), but they're generally quiet and harmless. Yesterday, however, we had a real lulu. She (I'll call her Crazy Lady - CL for short)looked pretty normal, but as soon as she opened her mouth, we knew that was not the case.

Here's a rough idea of the conversation that followed:
CL came up to the reference desk where Eva was working.
EW: May I help you?
CL: I need a book on paralegals. (she pronounced it pah-ra-legal)
EW: What was that?
EW: Okay, I'll look that up for you. If we don't have it here, would you like me to order it from another library for you?
CL: I don't have a library card. I used to.
EW: I could look you up -
CL: In North Carolina.
EW: Oh, so you're not from around here?
CL: Oh, I'm from here - from this planet. What planet are you from? (to me) Maybe you have a decent brain in your head.

I looked at the computer screen and noted the call number of the book Eva had just looked up, and took CL over to the shelf where the book was located.
CL: That woman was terrible!
Me: I'll pretend I didn't hear that.
CL: Oh, but she was!
Me: She found the book for you, didn't she?
I handed her the book, and walked away. I did not want to have a conversation with that woman!

A few minutes later, she called me over to the table where she was sitting.
CL: Do you have a private study room here?
Me: No, I'm sorry, but we're hoping to in the new building we're moving to in April.
CL: Because you're sending me to a strange and secret place.
Me: No, we don't do that here.
CL: Do what?
Me: Send people to strange and secret places.
CL: Oh, yes you are - to Guantanamo Bay, I'm sure!
I thought for a moment - yeah, that would be nice - but said, "No, I don't think so."

About 20 minutes later, she came to the desk again.
CL: Please. For. The. Ladies.
Me: Huh?
Me: Uhh, did you need to use the restroom?
CL: Yes! (looking at me as if I were the crazy one)
Me: The restrooms are upstairs. You'll have to get the key at the desk up there.
CL: Oh those ladies are wayyy too busy with all those kids up there! They won't be able to help me!
Me: The key is hanging on the front of the desk - you can just pick it up.
CL: (sounding exasperated) But I don't know where the bathrooms are!
Me: (pointing) They're along the wall on that side.
She stomped off, making loud frustrated noises. The patron that Eva was helping at the time said,"Wow! I thought you guys had an easy job, but not if you have to deal with people like that!

A little while later, one of the managers came downstairs and said they had to ask her to leave - she had told some kids that if she had a knife, she would use it on them. Fortunately, she left without a fuss, after telling the manager she was not schizophrenic. Eva and I were greatly relieved that she was gone. What a twilight zone moment!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Music, music, music

There's always lots of musical stuff going on in our lives. Last month, the Master Arts Chorale performed with 3 groups from Biola. It's always interesting to hear how other choirs interpret music. Right now, we're rehearsing for our December 8th concert. The main piece we're doing is Morten Lauridsen's Lux Aeterna, which is really challenging. All the parts have to sing out of their ranges. I sing alto, and we're singing from the F below the staff to the G above. Most of us don't mind that low F, but the G is a killer.

Jacob sent in an application (complete with photos and demo CD) for the LA Opera, but was rejected with a one-sentence email. How disappointing! But tomorrow he's auditioning for the Palm Springs Opera. He had completely forgotten that he applied for the audition, since he sent it in several months ago, and just found out about it this week. First place is $5000, so I really hope he wins. At least he'll get to sing for them - LA didn't even give him a chance.

Joseph has been learning to identify composers - he likes (ugh!) Radiohead best, whic he calls "Roadahead," as well as Verdi, Bach, Charles Ives, and a few others. The other day, I was sitting in my room when Joseph came toddling in. I asked him what kind of music was playing, expecting him to say something like "happy music" or "people singing," but instead he said, "Rachmaninoff!" Jacob was playing the Rachmaninoff Vespers, which we've sung parts of in concert. I can't wait until he starts singing with us.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Fall is here ...

... but it sure doesn't feel like it yet. The Santa Ana winds are keeping the temperatures up in the 90's in the daytime. We bought 2 cords of eucalyptus firewood, but have only been able to use the woodstove a couple of times so far this season. I like warm weather as a rule, but I'm looking forward to sitting in front of the fire with a cup of tea and a knitting project. Or, as is usually the case, a grandson in my lap with a pile of picture books - "Read it, Grandma!"

Joseph is growing up so fast. He talks all the time, and we can actually understand most of what he says. He tries hard to say the words correctly, and eventually corrects himself if he learns something wrong at first. People's names are very important to him - he wants to learn and remember the names of everyone he meets. Unfortunately, if he doesn't know someone's name, he points at them and says, "What's that?" very emphatically. I guess he can get away with it now since he's only 2, but I sure hope he learns to ask more politely soon.

Last weekend, I went to the CLA (California Library Association) conference in Long Beach. I had only intended to stay until 6 or 7, but I ended up going to dinner with three colleagues and we talked for a long time after dinner. I gave one of them a ride home (she lives in Victorville), and I didn't get home until after 11:30 that night. It was worth it, though. I ran into a lot of old friends, and learned a lot about some of the databases we currently use at the library. I also found something I wish we had - AquaBrowser. This is a really cool adjunct to the library's public catalog. You can try a demo of it from their website. The vendor at the conference had me thoroughly convinced that we need this for our library system, but as I am a lowly library assistant, second from the bottom of the food chain, there's not much I can do. I did talk with my branch manager when I got back - he's used it before, and knows what a valuable tool it can be. Also, he said that Riverside County, which we are affiliated with, may be getting it. If they get it, we'll have to have it too so that we can keep up.

Another booth that I spent a lot of time at was the Big Cozy Books booth. I'd like to have them build a toybox-sized bench for the bus to replace the junky toybox we have now. The hard part will be talking the bosses into spending the $450 or so that it will cost. It would look cool, though, and it would last forever, unlike the $75 piece of crap we have in there. If I was rich and had the room, I'd buy a bunch of their stuff for home. I love the big pink eraser.

I haven't gotten my Kamaka back from Marc yet, but I did meet another ukulele player and collector. He's a 5th grade teacher at one of the schools here in Fontana, and has about 55 ukes in his collection. He goes by the name Diesel on the Flea Market Music site. When I visit his school with the bookmobile at the end of the month, I'm going to bring a few of my nicer ukes to show him, since he let me play his 1927 Harmony soprano (in mint condition).

Well, I should probably head for home now. I'm sitting in a Panera Bread bakery, eating a crumbly scone, drinking tea, and enjoying the free wifi. The rest of the family, including Kevin and Cheryl, are visiting Brian's mom to celebrate the October and November birthdays. I had to work today, so was left out of the festivities. I'm enjoying the free time, though, and everyone sang happy birthday to me over the phone.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

It's been a busy summer

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. All summer long, we took the bookmobile out to parks in the evenings. Now that school has started, we're doing school visits in the mornings. I've gone from working 12-9 shifts to working 7-4 some days.

Jacob and Rachel have both posted extensively on the flash floods we had over Labor Day weekend, so go check out their blogs to see some pictures and even a video. Also, Jacob posted a cute picture of Joseph in his pirate outfit in August.

Brian bought me a couple of 1950's soprano ukuleles a few months ago - a Martin style "O" and a Kamaka pineapple. Both of them are in well-used condition, so he got them at a fraction of the price of the same ukes in mint condition. I'm having the Kamaka restored right now by Marc Donner - it should be done soon. I'll probably leave the Martin as-is. It's amazing to me how much more sound these old instruments put out, as compared to a newer, cheaper, and heavier one. My Oscar Schmidt concert uke sounds muted next to the Martin, even though it's much bigger.

Monday, June 25, 2007

What a Week!

I'm still recuperating from the three events we participated in with the bookmobile last week. Each event was exponentially more intense than the last. On Tuesday, we spent a few hours cleaning the bus for the ribbon-cutting ceremony that was held in the evening. The ceremony itself was short but very busy - about 150 kids and a few adults waited in line for a brief tour of the bus, then went inside to watch the magic show while we sat in the bus. A couple of families visited during the show, but otherwise it was pretty boring.

Thursday was spent at a local elementary school, which we had visited about a month ago. This time, we were there to see the kids who were off track last time. Ten classes came out to see the bus, one class at a time for 30 minutes each. We had a craft outside and storytime inside, and each kid got to participate in both. Jorge and Sonia, our new part-time helpers were there this time, and they were a huge help.

On Saturday, we set up at the Fontana Health and Safety Fair, which I have taken the bus to every year. Unfortunately, Jorge and Sonia were drafted into helping at another major event, so it was just me and Eva. The crowd was bigger than ever, and there was no time after it started that we had less than 6 kids in the bus. I didn't actually count them, but based on last year's figures and the crowd this year, I estimated about 1300 visitors in 5 hours. We nearly lost several puppets - a woman and her kids took them off the bus. I got them all back, and all she could say was, "Well, I didn't know!" and "You should thank the kids, at least they brought them back." People never cease to amaze me. Other than that, all went well.