Sunday, October 31, 2004

The English Language According to the Sprout

milk = mook
Cheerios = 1-todos, 2-choolios, 3-chooreos (most recent version)
juice = doos
feed those cats = feedose cats
nail = nayno
broom = vroom or vwoom
basket = bastick (as in "A tistick, a tastick, alossa lello bastick")(sung atonally)
Batman = baman!
tickles = tikkoes!
switch = fwitch
how alarming = hoe lamming! (this is what we say to each other, when we set the home security system and it beeps)
peas = peas
please = peas

And my current favourite:

nail clippers = kipponaynos (as in "Wanta kipponaynos, peas.")

Saturday, October 30, 2004

A Shining Parental Moment

Okay, so three hours in the car doing errands, including a visit to Walmart (the other Evil Empire), left me will a very short supply of patience yesterday.

I object to Walmart on a philosophical level, since they bring their big boxes into my community and outsell all the small businesses here. I try not to shop there, and prefer to spend my money either at an independent or at least at a Canadian-owned chain. But, after visits to four second-hand clothing shops, and six other stores, looking for size 6 boy's winter boots, I found myself staring at the wall o' boots at Wallymart. The road to hell is paved with very small, insulated, plastic boots made in the third world, probably by children with cold feet.

And so, at the end of the day, when the Sprout and I arrived home from daycare, I asked him to try on his new boots. (I was also trying to get him dressed and out the door quickly so we could pick up Jimbo). Oh, the screaming, the kicking, the carrying on. And all at once, I'd had it. "Fuck!!!!", I hollered, and left the room.

It had so little to do with the Sprout and so much to do with the shopping experience. I was vastly proud of myself. I don't think I've scarred the Sprout for life, and perhaps he has forgotten Mummy's momentary indiscretion. Jimbo is confident, now, though, that he can blame any future swearing, that the baby does, squarely on me. And he is probably right.

This shining parental moment has been brought to you by the Library Squirrel.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

What the Internet Is

Monday I hosted a library lecture for the public on blogging and RSS. Peter Scott was the presenter, and he did a great job. At the end of the session, some of the audience were so excited about making blogs that I agreed to meet them the next day and help them set up their own.

I'm getting blase about the Internet, but Peter said something in the middle of the session that got my inner librarian all fired up suddenly:
"The Internet is a community where we all get together to create information."

Peter has been working with the Internet since the beginning of it all, and he hasn't lost the significance of it. I usually think of the Internet as a mere communication/information tool, but when it's phrased like this I want to go out and get the world excited about it.

Pollyanna squirrel says, "Isn't blogging great??" We all get to create information. We all get to create the news. Even if it's only news that's of interest to my sister in Ontario. It's good to be reminded of things like this.

Enough rapid Thursday-morning blogging. Now I'm off to nail quarter-round.

Library Dust

I recently found another blog that I like to read: Library Dust. The author has a really great tone to his writing, and a dry wit.

After much gnashing of teeth (can I be a duller techie? - I think not), I managed to make myself a blogroll and add it to the side of my blog. I am really good at so many things, but this electronic stuff just escapes my grasp so often. If only someone would pay me to drywall, to garden, or to bake. Those come more naturally to me. Sigh.

Today's My EDO

I am at home today, since it's my 'Earned Day Off'. EDOs are so great - I usually plan a bunch of things and get a good load of home renovations done on my EDO. Today I have a big headache, though, since I slept in a funny position and since my child kept waking me up every hour or so for 'mook'.

I think I am being punished for going away last weekend to the conference. Before the conference, Sprout would wake me up about twice a night to nurse, but for the last four nights post-conference, he is waking me up all the time and wants to nurse non-stop for 1/2 an hour at a time. It is possible that he is just teething and wants comfort. Or, he wants to make sure I don't leave him again and the best way to keep track of me is to be constantly breastfeeding. "Is she still here? [Gum, gum, gum] Yup! Z-z-z-z-z..."

I had another runaway breastpump incident at the conference. The only other time I left the Sprout with Daddy for 2 days was the SLA Conference in Regina in May. At that one, I brought my breastpump so I could pump and store my milk to take home with me. After a day of pumping, suddenly I had to pump every three hours because I was making so much milk! Boy was I happy to get home that time. This time in Calgary, I decided to bring my pump and to only pump for about 3 minutes on each side - not to get much milk, but to ensure that I keep producing it. Anyway, even at 3 minutes on each side, suddenly one of my breasts was huge and in-my-face after a day. This tells me that Sprout doesn't actually take much milk usually, since my breastpump was obviously stimulating the breast way more than the baby does. Again, happy to get home and back to normal.

Sometimes I laugh about the animal things we live with as we walk erect and pretend to be intellectual humans. There I was trying to be a clever and productive librarian, while thinking quietly to myself, 'oooh, big boob, ouch, ouch, big boob, dang'. And don't forget, we're all actually NAKED under our clothes. Isn't that a shocking thought.

Monday, October 25, 2004

This Was the Post I Was Working on Monday

I'm getting to be a frustrated blogger, since I am too busy at work to make a post every day. This is what I had started to write on Monday, but didn't get finished...

Back in Black. And Red.

I'm back from my sojourn to Calgary, a la Netspeed Conference. I have learned many tiny details about technology in libraries, you with which I will not bore. In a spare hour, I popped across the street to the Sally Ann and shopped undisturbed for an hour (when you're a parent, anything done undisturbed for an hour is bliss). I adore second-hand clothing shopping, and my persistence was awarded with a very beautiful red, satinesque jacket that I am wearing to host a program tonight.

Whenever I go to a library conference, I am struck by how many of us LOOK LIKE LIBRARIANS. It always makes me want to make an effort for a day or two. Today, I fancy that I look very trendy. Of course, I may just look like a librarian trying to look trendy.

There is librarian fashion in the stereotypical style, and then there are subsets of librarian fashion. There is, for example, the very natural 'I love world music' librarian. There is the functional but blase 'If I could only be a brain in a jar, and didn't have to worry about dressing up my earthly shell' librarian style [this is me, most of the time]. There is the 'make-up from the 80s has always worked for me' librarian. There is the 'don't you just love bag dresses - it's just like being Elisabeth Bennett!!' librarian. Most of us get eye-strain at some point, so we mostly wear glasses. There are probably more women with their hair in buns than in the general population, it's true.

A fun game to do, actually, at a library conference is to sit in a shop near the conference venue and play 'spot the librarian'. It's very amusing.

Anyway, today, I am too cute to be a librarian.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Why I Like Working in the Library

In how many workplaces can you hear statements like this in the lunchroom:

"I have an inclination for postprandial napping."

You heard it here (from the loser who can't spell 'Joni Mitchell').

It's Winter in Saskatchewan

In the last three days, we've had around 10 inches of snow. Suddenly it's winter. I keep hearing Christmas carols in my head, when I should really be thinking about Hallowe'en costumes for the Bobo. The other Gwen (my office mate) is digging up a clown costume for Sprout, so he should be cute. If it fits under his snowsuit.

Sprout had a slight fever the other night, and was up for two hours at 1:00 a.m. At one point, he started singing "Spiderman", and kept it up for about 1/2 hour straight. Unfortunately, he only knows a few catch phrases, so it sounds like this:

'Spiderman! Spiderman!
Spiderman! Spiderman!
Spinawep! Any size!
Spiderman! Spiderman!
Spiderman! Spiderman!

It was very funny (for the first 15 minutes or so). We were both cracking up, though half-asleep. Babies are so hilarious. If someone had told me this earlier, I might have more of them by now.

Speaking of the Sprout, this week there was a potty-training experiment at daycare. The woman (let's call her Sue) who takes care of Sprout potty-trains all her charges, and decided that she'd see if Sprout is ready to learn. It went pretty well for a while, but all came crashing down later in the day when all the big kids came back from school. He has just recently become proficient at stair-climbing, and is now allowed to go to the 3rd floor to play like the bigger kids. Potty training means that you have to stay on the main floor until you learn (else you might pee on the floor upstairs). This pissed (pun) Sprout off to no end, and at one point he simply held his pee for a whole nerve-wracking hour while she sat him on the potty every 10 minutes to see if he had to go. At some point the repeated potty-sitting was interpreted by Sprout as punishment too, since he wanted to a) go upstairs, and b) run around with the big kids. By the end of it, he was confused, crying, and calling for me; I'm glad that she's putting the experiment off for a few more months.

I hosted my first lecture-style computer program Monday night here at the Library. I came up with this idea for a program series on 'emerging technologies', where people can come and learn about the latest technological advances. I only have 3 programs in my series this time, but if they fly, then I might run another set in the Spring. Monday's program was 'Web Design Using Flash', and I wanted the speaker to show us examples of Flash being used well. She did an awesome job. Try out the Nike Skateboarding site (pick a rider); it's too much fun. I'm a non-techie, and it was enjoyable even for me. The excessive and sudden snow killed my crowd numbers, though; only 4 people made it - though effusively thankful that the Library hosted such a topic. Next week, Peter Scott is going to come and lecture on blogging. That should be really great, since he's always on the cutting edge of trends like this and is supposed to be a very funny lecturer.

That's the funny thing about Saskatoon. It's a small Prairie city, but it has lots of famous and semi-famous connections. We have librarians on the cutting edge like Peter Scott and Darlene Fichter. Guy Vanderhaeghe (fabulous writer) lives here. Yann Martel was our Writer in Residence at the Library last year, just after winning the Booker Prize for Literature. Joanie Mitchell grew up here. Catriona LeMay Doan (Olympic speed skating champion) is from here. They just launched the opening of the Synchrotron here this week - a huge scientific research centre, the only one in North America, decades in the making. The Province of Saskatchewan is the birthplace of Medicare. All these cool things come out of this little place. It seems like because we have a sparse population where people need to cooperate to survive, brilliance comes out of it.

Not that it's all good, of course. We still have a huge racial divide between aboriginal people and everyone else, because no one seems to understand exactly what a treaty is. This racism extends to ugliness like city police dropping off aboriginal people miles from the city, to walk back in -40 C weather or freeze to death. It's hard to understand these two ends of the spectrum together - I guess it's a place of extremes.

My husband lived for years in Vancouver, and is so happy to be back here. One of his main reasons for saying this? "Things die here." Something about having distinct seasons, and all the realities that go with that. Or maybe today I should say two distinct seasons, Summer and Winter (with maybe a day of Spring and a day of Autumn in between).

Tomorrow I'm off to the Netspeed conference in Calgary for three days. I'm excited about learning new things, but I'm such a tech-loser that I think I'll be hiding behind my big bushy tail and letting the tech squirrels do their thing. On a personal note, I get to stay in a hotel room all by myself, and may get the first real full night's sleep I've had in months. Jimbo will be at home with Sprout, and may not be so lucky...

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Squirrels in a Snarl

I read, with wonderment, an article in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix the other day about squirrels who occasionally get their tails tied in a knot! And I mean more than one squirrel, all tied together! Sounds too crazy, doesn't it?

Listen to this:

"Bizarre phenomenon sees squirrels tied in knots"
by Richard Hall, of the Star Phoenix
Saturday, October 9, 2004 edition, page A1 (yes, this qualifies for front page news around here...)

"Weyburn veterinarian Gary Hoium never thought he'd be confronted with a twisting, knotted-up mass of squirrels.

"On the lawn of a Weyburn senior citizen's residence in May 2003, four eastern fox squirrels were writhing around, knotted together at the tails..."

It's too weird. I'd reprint the entire article, if it weren't for my high librarian copyright standards. Oops, must go, library closing.

Blog Shocker

Am puzzled indeed! My sister has just put a photo of herself on her blog, but the photo is FROM 12 YEARS AGO. This is such classic Internet self-misrepresentation, and yet so funny at the same time because I know that she knows better.

It is an awesome photo, I will readily admit, and a great Beannie moment.

A Fine Quote Stumbled Upon on the Reference Desk

Today, I was trying to verify a quotation for a gentleman, using Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, and I stumbled across this lovely quotation:

"The arts Babblative and Scribblative." - Robert Southey

"Babblative and Scribblative" seems to sum up the Library Squirrel oeuvre nicely. Or blogging, in general.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Squirrel on a Treadmill

This squirrel is running on a treadmill. And I don't mean metaphorically!

It was my birthday this week (or as my Polish grandmother used to say, "birsdy"), and as a treat I got myself a one-year pass to the Saskatoon Leisure Centres. Now, as soon as Jimbo takes the Sprout into his room to put him to sleep at night, I duck out and go to the gym or the pool for an hour. I'm a bit stiff from the treadmill and the weight-training, but am bursting with pride at my excessive sportiness.

Am finding the stationary bike to be a bit dull, and the first night I found myself flipping through a surprisingly sexually candid issue of Jane magazine. As a librarian, it's always good to know what the public is reading, but it was very odd. Have just hit on the idea of reading award-winning children's fiction (my other recent hobby) while cycling! I'll just bring the book du jour, so I don't have to hunt down a good magazine article.

I read one Newbery honor book a few weeks ago that I can't get out of my head: The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer. It's about a boy who's a clone, and usually this sort of book would not be to my taste. The raw emotional situations in which the protagonist finds himself affected me very powerfully. Being a parent has certainly changed how I react emotionally to books about children.

Am currently in the middle of A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck. It is the sequel to A Long Way from Chicago, both Newberys. Both books are about two children who regularly spend a week staying with their grandmother - and they're too funny. Grandma shares many qualities with my Aunt Frieda, and she's a real spoiled brat.

This Newbery/Caldecott reading hobby is very satisfying. I'm never without a good book, and I can always finish a book in a day or two, even though I have little time to myself. And it just gets better - now I can get all buff and literary at the same time. Note to self: don't sweat on the books, Sporty.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Building a Playground

Yesterday, I participated in one of those 'feel good about humanity' efforts: with 100 other volunteers from my community, we built a new playground at the park in City Park (my neighbourhood). The community association has been fundraising for new playground for about 5 years. This year they got tremendous support from the City and from a number of groups, including the philanthropic wing of Home Depot (doesn't that sound like an oxymoron).

I am not fond of Home Depot, since they move their big boxes into our communities and put small local stores out of business (in fact, in our family we call Home Depot 'The Evil Empire'). I must say, though, that being involved in their 'build a playground in a day' made me feel all proud and happy. It's so amazing to see all the great stuff for kids that just wasn't there the day before. It's like magic.

I spent most of the day helping organize the food tables for volunteers and picking up trash and recycling, but right in the middle there were a really great couple of hours where I was learning how to mix cement. As with all newly-acquired skills, it was really fun. Someone even claims to have seen me doing it on the news last night!

Anyway, after a day of lots of people working together to a common goal, suddenly we had a playground! Wow. I suppose that the speed of it all is especially dazzling for someone who is used to renovations that take centuries...

City Park has seen a great influx of young families in the last 10 years, and so there are lots and lots of kids. This playground is going to be so awesome (the cement around the posts needs to dry first, of course). I'll tell you how it went once it's been Sprout-tested.