Sunday, December 24, 2006

Shabby Chic

Oh, the life of the squirrel librarian.

At the same Christmas party where Sprout decided that I should work forever to keep him in swimming outings, this shabby chic incident also happened...

I don't dress up very often any more, but for the Christmas party I raised the bar and pulled out the vintage dress that I own that always makes me look super fabulous. When I wear it, I feel gorgeous in a volumptuous sort of way (yes, I did say 'volumptuous').

Anyway, in my gorgeous dress, off I sashayed to the fete.

And I carried on feeling gorgeous for at least half the evening, until I noticed that my vintage dress was coming apart at the seam just under my armpit. And showing a shocking bit of flesh.

Then suddenly, I felt volumptuous and shabby at the same time. For the rest of the evening, I held my arm tightly to my side, covering the protruding squirrel flesh, and made the most of it. But it sure cramped my style.

Librarians who dress up always seem to call down the wrath of the gods, don't you think? It is hubris to rise above the trappings of shabby chic. Obviously.

Monday, December 11, 2006


Reasoning with Sprout is getting more and more complicated. Of course, he is almost four.

Last night, our staff Christmas party was held at a local schmancy hotel, on the mezzanine with a fine view of the waterslides off to one side. Sprout, of course, wants to go on those waterslides.

Sprout: Are we staying in dis hotel tonight, Mama? [gazing at the big yellow plastic slide tubing]

Me: No, we don't have enough money to stay in this hotel tonight.

Sprout: Can we stay in dis hotel sometime, Mama?

Me: Yes, someday we can stay in this hotel. About once a year we have enough money to stay in a hotel.

Sprout: [Looking at me critically] Don't you work a lot, Mama?

Me: Yes, I do work a lot, but most of that money goes to buying food for us to eat, or paying for house bills like heat and electricity...

Sprout: Can't you work more so we can stay in dis hotel? Maybe you could work a thousand days.


Breastfeeding Jesus

This school Christmas concert story from Britain is too funny (by the way, Tesco's is a U.K. supermarket or drugstore or something).

Monday, December 04, 2006


This is something that happened to me a few weeks before I left Info Services downtown, but I forgot to write about it until now.

As a general, stereotypical group, I despair of teachers who never did the after-degree. If they went straight into Education, and then started teaching, I never consider them knowing enough about the Universe to teach other people. And stories like this only cement my worldview on this point.

A high school teacher came up to the Desk, and said that she was preparing a unit on teaching high school students about budgeting; she wanted books on budgeting for teens. Fair enough.

I started to search for the elusive subject heading that I knew would be there, but with a certain type of patron, a full minute of searching - let alone 3 minutes of searching - is just too much, and obviously I don't know what I'm doing. She started to give me suggestions, and show her impatience fairly quickly - I'm sure we've all experienced this phenomenon.

Because she was so impatient, I suggested that she use some of the general budgeting books I was finding. She replied that those wouldn't work, because - wait for it - "With teens, sometimes you have to dumb-i-fy it."

Now, usually, I slip into my poker face and try not to comment on the patron's statement. But this time - with this shaper of young minds - I just couldn't resist.

"Um...," I said, "Did you... just.. say... 'dumb-i-fy'...??"

"Yeah," she nodded pertly, "Sometimes they just don't get it."

At this point in our conversation, two things happened together. We suddenly got very busy on the Desk, and I snagged the perfect subject heading as I knew I would. Since she's a teacher (heh), I wrote it down for her and sent her to the catalogue computers to find materials, and told her I'd check back with her in a few minutes. It should be pretty easy - right? - to find books with the perfect subject heading put in your hand for you?

But when I got back to her five minutes later, the only thing she had found of value was a 1986 children's book at a different branch. Puzzling? Oh. The despair. Indeed, she was using my perfect subject heading in a TITLE search. Yup, a high school teacher who doesn't know the difference between a subject search and a title search. And I couldn't talk her into doing it again correctly. She was all used up. She insisted that she'd drive all the way to Branch X to get her outdated budget book for kinders, and make the best of it.

It bugs me that she's dumb and doesn't know it. It bugs me that she probably thinks I wasn't very helpful because I didn't put the best books in her hand in the 30 seconds that she afforded me. It bugs me that her students have to put up with her for a whole year. And mostly, it bugs me that she has such little respect for the potential of her bet-they're-wildly-smarter-than-her kids.

Sayonara, Ms. FancyPants. May your teens dance circles around you.

Playing Nice

I like my new job a lot. The staff are great and there is lots to learn.

And the patrons continue to be exceedingly well-behaved. There is one gentleman who comes in regularly and behaves slightly odd, but it doesn't seem to bother anyone. Example: the other day, he picked up two decorative gourds off the Desk, juggled them for a few minutes in full view of everyone, and put them back. And that's the extent of the weird behaviour.

If something bad ever does happen out there, I hope I remember how to handle it.

Note to self: Hallowe'en and Thanksgiving are both over - remove the decorative gourds?...