Thursday, May 26, 2005

Woad Twip!

The other Gwen and I are going on a road trip this weekend, leaving the fellas behind. We're going to La Ronge, which is a five-hour drive north into the bush. I've never been to La Ronge, but we know a librarian who works up there, and it sounds like an interesting place.

The La Ronge Public Library is part of the PNLS Library System (don't ask me to pronounce the full name). PNLS is interesting because of the vast geographical area it covers, with communities spread out in it, because Dene and Cree are used more by the local people than English, and because they set it up as an integral partnership between school libraries and public libraries. I'm interested in seeing how that works.

I'm also interested in sitting by the lake drinking a beer or two. And eating fresh pickerel. And visiting my squirrel cousins! Yay, squirrels! Oh, and mosquitos and black flies...(and bears?!)

I think Sprout suspects that something is afoot. He was very clingy this morning, after he heard me mention the trip to Auntie Bean on the phone. "Where we going, Mama?" He and Jim have a great weekend planned, though, so I'm sure he'll adjust. Our road trip happens to fall on the same weekend as the neighbourhood's spring fair, READ Saskatoon's wind-up picnic, a wedding shower for two people at work, a 50th birthday party for someone else, and good old swimming lessons. He'll miss me, but only in between parties.

The two Gwens on a road trip always makes for a great time. I may not be able to tell you all about it when we get back, though; there is often a 'cone of silence' that rests over the remains of a trip like that.

I'm sure you understand.

Monday, May 23, 2005


I am not a flighty person, but I just can't seem to pass up an opportunity when it presents itself. I have been at the Library for 10 years come August, and between term positions, contracts, and 'opportunities', I have had - lemme see - nine different jobs there. The current job is one that I've been in for 1.5 years, and it's awesome.


Now there's a job available that would give me more supervisory responsibilities than I have now, and it would allow me to do a lot of visioning, experimenting with successful service models, and would let me have my fingers in many, many projects. I didn't apply for it when it was posted a few months ago internally (inside the Library), but somehow I've completely come around since then. I took a really interesting pre-conference session at SLA on advocacy, and I think that's playing a big part. I think that with the right approach, I can be part of the development of some really cool things.

They have just posted the job externally, so the whole world (okay, the whole world of librarians) can apply for it. I should be upset that I didn't get in there when it was internal, but a perverse part of me is pleased that I'm competing with the world. I've been competing internally for 10 years, so I have no real idea of my worth against the masses. It might be nice to see where I come out.

One thing that was really holding me back from applying this time was the idea of leading a group of people toward a common goal. The other night, though, Jim and I sat on the couch and talked about it. I work with a lot of very talented people, and suddenly I realized that I think of them like a sort of a family. I'm afraid to lead a 'bunch of people', but I'm not afraid to lead THIS bunch of people that I know. I think I have the mutual respect of at least a few of them, and that makes all the difference.

Now I'm all gung-ho creating my vision for the future, etc. I still love my current job, so if I don't get the new one, I'll be fine. It wouldn't really hurt me to stay in a job for three years like a normal person either. Of course, if I do get the new one, I'll be ten for ten.

(And I'm not a normal person. I'm a squirrel. I keep forgetting.)

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Sproutisme du jour

Yesterday morning Jim was using the bathroom and Sprout wanted to wash his hands. Jim suggested that he wash them in the kitchen sink.

So this is what I heard, standing in the kitchen, when Sprout appeared from around the corner:

"Daddy say for me to wash my hand in da chicken sink."

Monday, May 16, 2005

Bee Loud Glade

Okay, the bees are not out. And it's not very loud. But it is the green world.

I'm gardening again.

I haven't been able to garden for ages, it seems like. For the last three days, it has been perfect outside. We are in the halcyon days of a Saskatoon summer. The mosquitos are not out yet. The wasps are not out yet. It stays light out until 9:15 p.m., so you can see what you're doing. It's sunny with a slight breeze and the skys are big. These are the days where you think, "Yes, this is why I live here." We've eaten supper outside for three nights running, followed by general frolicking in the garden (Sprout), digging a new garden bed (me), and reading sci-fi with cigarettes (Jim). Fabulous.

I have removed the grass from a sizeable portion of the yard so that Sprout and I can plant a veggie patch this year. I'm going to try to teach him to garden, which may require many, many lessons in restraint. "No, no, don't pull that one, Sweetie! That's not a weed!" Jim and I dug in the contents of our four-year compost pile tonight, and the dirt is rich and loamy. I guess all that's left is the trip to the garden centre (yay! shopping!)(oh wait, garden centre - DANGEROUS shopping...)

Note to self: leave some plants for the other people.

Anyway, I'm having such a great time gardening. I'm gardening crazed, in truth. As soon as Jim puts Sprout to bed, I sneak out for the last 45 minutes and creep around outside watering and weeding like a little fairy. Buzz buzz, twinkle twinkle. I haven't had meditative gardening time for years, between parenthood and super-librarian volunteerhood. Now that Sprout is older and needs me slightly less all the time, and now that I'm slightly less sleep-deprived, this being home every night with few extracurricular jobs to do is brilliant. I think it's going to be an awesome summer.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Library Squirrel is One!

A monumentous day here in the Oak tree. Library Squirrel is one year old today. I almost never do anything for a year straight, so this is indeed a moment to celebrate. In honour of being One, I bring up for you a post from the early days that brings this whole 'library squirrel' thing together: ahem, ...a theory.

If you are visiting the Squirrel, take a moment to say which city you're reading from (even anonymously), and what you like best about Library Squirrel. Squirrels like to be told how sleek and perky we are, on our birthdays. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Dancing Squirrel

Something odd and wonderful is happening.

Sprout has a bit of eczema (itchy bumps on his head)(it's a sort of allergy reaction), and I have heard that giving him a bit of flax oil every day might keep it at bay. So, two weeks ago I splurged on a blender and bought a bunch of frozen berries, yoghurt, and cold-pressed flax oil.

Since then, we have been making 'myookssakes'(a.k.a. 'milkshakes') every morning. Balkan-style 6% yoghurt (yahoo), frozen or fresh fruit, juice, bananas, and 1 Tbsp of flax oil. Whrrrrrrrrrrrr!! And with the addition of a bendy-straw to make it fun, he slugs it back. And so do I. Delicious.

He currently has an eczema bump, but nothing is happening with it - usually it starts with one bump, then three, then his head is a crazy mass of itchy, oozing, raised welts. Poor little thing. Anyway, no progression. I'm waiting a little longer to see how the whole experiment turns out.

The result that I did not expect from this experiment is that I have almost no arthritis pain.

I have osteoarthritis in both hips - the result of two straight years of being super-volunteer save-the-world-librarian, at a rate of 16 hours per day at my computer (stupid, but irrevocable). I am over the depression phase that often accompanies arthritis (understandable anger and loss at a future of chronic pain), but I do notice my arthritis most of the time from sitting, walking, gardening, or lying in the same position too long in bed at night.

But suddenly, an hour at my desk working on a project comes with no pain baggage! I dug in the garden for two straight hours on Mother's Day, too, and paid almost no price for the exertion. I can't believe that my share of 1 Tbsp of flax oil is making this big change, but I can't explain it otherwise. I am a dancing squirrel. I am a squirrel rejoicing at the arrival of Spring. I am a squirrel who's going to hoick some mean decking materials in a month.

I am a squirrel on the edge.

Friday, May 06, 2005

My Son, Le Chef

Sprout talks non-stop when he is awake (and occasionally also when he is sleeping). I keep wondering what sort of job needs that continous commentary, without driving everyone else mad. Yesterday, I put it together with his fascination for cooking, et voila - maybe he'll be a cooking show host! I could live with that.

The other day, S, who is his daytime caregiver, took him grocery shopping with her, and she said he talked non-stop through the whole trip. "Dat's a green pepper, Auntie. You should buy a green pepper. We have green peppers at our house. You should buy some feta, Auntie. [Sprout] like eat feta. Dat's an orange, Auntie. Will you buy an orange, Auntie?" You get the idea. Through the whole store. She was also doing consumer math in her head at the same time, because she had forgotten her calculator, and her bill at the end was off by $30 from what she thought it would be - all because of Mr. 'Dat's a Green Pepper, Auntie'.

I have discovered children's nonfiction books, and they're a great success around our house. I spend a few minutes thinking about things that we have encountered in our daily life, such as the other current fascination with hot air balloons, and then I bring books home on that topic. They don't make a lot of books for very small children in nonfiction - most have too many words - but there are some really great series. One small series that the Library has is on careers, and it is well-written with factual content and great paintings, giving you a day in the life of the professional in question. Sprout was not so interested in "The Auto Mechanic", but he wants to read "The Chef" every night.

Jim is an excellent cook, and we both love good food, so it warms our little hearts when he says, "Did you read da Chef book, Daddy? We should read dat Chef book."

I'm hoping that he'll keep me in creme caramel, barbecued chicken, and fancy pasta in my doddering, old age. That's my Mother's Day wish.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


I haven't done this for a few years now. I just showed up at work this morning to discover that I'm scheduled to start work at 1:00 p.m. Sigh. There's nothing that makes you feel more like a bobo than showing up four hours early for work. I'm trying to decide what to do with myself. I suppose I could go home again and spend two hours doing housework - but I'm already clean and fully dressed. (Or as fully dressed as a rumpled librarian gets.)

We just got a letter from the City in our mailbox at home this morning. They are going to upgrade the water main on our street (yay! potentially no more water breaks!). The bad news is that our house (and probably all the other houses on the street) is slated for a sewer line upgrade at the same time. And for this pleasure, our portion to pay is between $900 and $1500. Ah, the charm of being homeowners. This fee I can come to terms with, but what really concerns me is the possibility that they might have to dig under my sister's new stone walkway to the house and under Jim's new cedar front deck. Uh oh. I really, really, really hope that this is not necessary, but the sewer cleanout in the basement is directly behind both of these beautiful architectural details. Maybe I'll go home and make a few phone calls, and settle my worried soul.

On the work front, I'm trying to get hip and cool. A few libraries have started using Instant Messaging as a way to provide virtual reference service, without having to purchase very expensive virtual reference software. IM should be easy to learn, right? I'm only 36, for God's sake. I should be able to do this. Yesterday a few of my colleagues and I booked off a few hours to tackle it. We're running an older version of Windows here at the Library, which does not support the current version of Yahoo IM. So, with the assistance of one of our Tech Support people, a session of downloading Miranda to support an old version of Yahoo IM, I was finally 'online' after an hour and a half. With quirks. And I had no idea how I had gotten there. One of my other colleagues said, "If it takes two hours to do Instant Messaging, I guess it's not very INSTANT, is it..." Wow. Nothing brings me to my little librarian knees like technology.

Spent a lovely few days last weekend at the Saskatchewan Library Association conference here in town. I always learn some good stuff and I have a great time chatting with people from elsewhere in the Province. I went on the pub crawl with the younger set ("Who ordered the 641.874?" Hee hee. Librarian joke.) and wisely chose not to make a drunken fool of myself. Probably because I introduced myself to a young librarian whom I had e-mailed professionally but had never met face-to-face. "Actually," she said, grinning, "I think I met you on the pub crawl at CLA in Winnipeg." The room spun. "Oh shit," I said. You must understand that the pub crawl in Winnipeg was the event after which I determined never to get stinking drunk with a bunch of strangers in my professional world. People that don't know you don't necessarily realize that you're a talented, creative, sensible professional, when you've just tripped over a pebble and are crumpled in the street. They WILL remember you, though.

I'm tempted to work a 10-hour day and take some time off later, but I've worried my supervisor with that suggestion. Perhaps I'll go sit in some fancy coffee shop and pretend I'm a yuppie DINK. Double income doesn't do you much good, though, yuppie, when your sewer line costs you $1500. Maybe don't have a triple-soy-half-cap-vanilla-chai-latte. Just have a coffee, girl.

Chip chrrrrr.