Monday, November 07, 2016

I Can't Dance

I love my ballet classes. I've been a bad dancer for 15 years and it has given me endless joy and fellowship.

And yet, I have not been to class in over 2 weeks.

It was JR's minor ailment, and sciatica for me one day. It was the crap with the Man another.

But last week, and today, it is simply I DON'T want to go.

All I want to do is curl up in my house, with a cat on my lap and read. And occasionally, cry.

If I didn't have work obligations, that's all I'd have done all day.

The time change, my election fears, the money worries, it's all bearing down on me.

My peak flow meter says I'm fine, but my lungs ache, and all I want to do is sleep.

Dance makes me joyful. I know if I was there I'd be happy.
But somehow, I just can't go.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Dear Prospective Homeowner

Please buy my house.

You've just looked at it--I don't know if you're the same person who looked at it on Saturday, but please buy it.

We tarted up the kitchen with those stainless steel appliances. It took me endless crap with Home Depot to get the stove--and I ended up buying it at Loewes--and it's a good stove. It's very similar to the one I bought for my own new house, only mine is white. And the fridge is the same fridge. I took my lovely white one, the one I got last November, with us. But I bought you one that is almost as good.

I know the counters are laminate, not granite, but they're new, and so is the sink. And while some of the cabinets ARE 12 years old, some of the others are new.  And they're all good cabinets. It's a small kitchen, but you are getting my lovely work counter with the full length drawer that was so good for my knives and utensils, and my baking cabinet below.

The floor is pretty linoleum tile. I remember the Man putting it in. SC helped him--she was only 8 or 9 then. It's not new, but it's a good pattern that never looks dirty, and won't hurt your feet when you're standing on it to cook. I miss it, and will replace the crappy floor in my new house with something similar, once we have money again.

Once you buy my house. Did you notice the huge, lovely living room/dining room?There's lots of room there now that the Man's crap is gone.  We had parties there with all our stuff--just think of the parties you can have without 10 zillion books taking up the space!

You get my beautiful parquet floors, newly refinished, so that years of babies and kids and cats have been erased.

You get my beautiful double windows, all looking out to our brick patio. There's about 2 tons of brick there, bricks that the Man and I removed and that were newly reset. You can sit there, looking out at the lovely woods.

You get the stairs with the landing where the cats used to play and where I'd sit, looking out the window.  Six different cats lived with us in this house.

You get my bathroom with the pretty shower tiles. It's newly painted, and the old ugly tile is gone.

This is the house we moved into when SC was a baby. The house where I was pregnant with JR. You get the rooms where my girls grew up, and my bedroom, with its wonderful 2nd floor view into the trees. You'll have the green light that filters in as the leaves sway. You'll see the beauty of the snowy woods, and the slope where we sledded.There are deer. And foxes. And all kinds of birds.

For 20 years it was my house. And I loved it. It was my home, my nest, my safe place.

But we've moved, and I'm learning to love my new house, and I need to sell this one so that I can pay my brother the money I owe him, clear the credit cards, and have money for the things the new house needs.

So please buy my house. And love it, and be good to it.

Thanks,
The Library Lady

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Dear Passport Patron:

Background Note: My library is now serving as a passport application agency. We get $25 per passport processed, so it's a good deal, but it makes me nervous. Following the rules step by step is not my forte (!) and this is a government document, fiddly to the nth degree.
(If you apply for a passport, make sure that you count to make sure your agent only puts 6 staples on your form, 7 if you're sending in an old passport. It's required to be that way and no other! Really!)

Dear Passport Patron,
You have a nice family, and I was fine with your little boy getting restless, because I get kids. And I appreciated your family's patience. I'm new at this, and you have a few minor issues I had to check to make sure the rules worked correctly.

And I know you thought it was amusing to ask if you should make out the check to the "Clinton Foundation" rather than the State Department. But, because I am a public servant who is used to dealing with asshats from Oklahoma and other podunk places, I just smiled, instead of telling you better them than the Trump Foundation. Because at least with the Clinton Foundation the money would go to the people it was supposed to help instead of the guy running the foundation.

Have a nice trip to France.

Sincerely,
The Library Lady
(Who would like you to know that even if you and your wife both vote for that foul man, there are three votes for Hillary in MY house, because MY daughter has been brought up to be an intelligent, thoughtful, educated human being, and there would be 4 votes is JR wasn't only 17 this year!)

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Dear Prospective Employees

If you are applying for the assistant position in my department, please be aware of the following:

This is not an "I just got my degree and I need a job," sort of job. It is not a "well, I really love to read, and I need a job," sort of job.

It is basically a frickin' paraprofessional librarian job. And if you don't know what that means, look it up!

And that's part of the problem. No one we've interviewed has bothered to do their homework.

You don't know what librarians do. You don't know what CHILDREN'S librarians do.

And you haven't bothered to research it!

For cripe's sake, there are a zillion sources out there on the Internet, everything from "Storytime Underground" on Facebook and elsewhere, to endless blogs about children's librarians (I have one myself, you know), to library websites where they have information about their activities.

Including this library system!

You're not educated or up to date about children's literature. Most of you don't seem to know GoodReads or Library Thing,  or even lists on Amazon.com, much less School Library Journal or Hornbook.

The American Library Association has a site for children's work packed with stuff about zero to 5 education, book awards and more, but you're coming in and telling us you get YOUR recommendations and keep up to date via articles on Facebook!  Or from your friends who write books.

And even those of you who have taken early childhood courses, or have kids yourself don't seem to get anything about young children. Lady, the reason your twins throw food when you read them crappy Jane Austen parodies of  "Goodnight Moon," is that they may appeal to you and your twee friends who think "Baby Lit" books are great, but they DON'T APPEAL TO YOUR KIDS!

Good luck to all of you. You are nice people, and I hope you find good jobs.
Elsewhere.

Sincerely,
The Library Lady
Still looking for a new assistant.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

So What's New?

My assistant left at the end of August, and I was part disturbed, part relieved. The Man thinks that she or her spouse must work for the government and that's why she was so closed mouthed about her life, I tend to think she's very introverted, but that there was SOMETHING going on--why else would a teacher with a degree be doing this sort of work?  It made things uncomfortable for me.  She also was NOT a multitasker, and while her calm presence was great, I need to get things done. Currently doing interviews for her successor. Sigh....

We moved at the end of August, a hellish move that took 12 hours because of the Man's crap. Nearly 100 boxes of books now reside in a basement area that was SUPPOSED to be JR's music spot. Instead she plays the guitar next door to my room, and the sound carries all over the house.

More boxes are still marring the living room, and a bit of the family room, but the Man is finally working on shoring up some bookcases, so we should have the living room cleared at least. This has been delayed because he has wasted innumerable hours over curtains--needed, but he's complicated this as he complicated everything. I am grateful that he agreed we needed a contractor to handle lighting and other things in the house before we moved in--or I'd have been waiting years for that.

JR had a very hard time adjusting to the new house, but she has done it, and now has mastered taking the city bus home after school.  SC of course, has managed things beautifully, aside from the fact that she is trying to pass the PRAXIS exam for teaching, has failed the math twice, and is costing us too much money in tutoring. Her boyfriend was a huge help in moving things from our $500 a month storage unit to the new house in a sweltering August heat wave, and is always happy to come over and help put together new furniture and such. I like him, I just worry about him and SC for the long term.

Bruce the Bold discovered he could break out of most of our rooms closed doors, including the linen closet, and we have had to manage that. He took to the new house easily. Molly was terrified of course, hid behind the dryer in the laundry area for most of the first day or two, and even slept with me at night a bit--something she never does. But she got used to the house, especially since I set up our bedroom window areas to be similar to her sleeping places at the old house.

We have spent a fortune fixing up the old place. It has now been on the market for 3 weeks and nary a nibble. Apparently we needed not only to put in new stainless steel appliances, but new kitchen cabinets and GRANITE countertops to get a good price. I am getting scared, because we will soon run out of reserve funds, and if we don't sell soon it will be a very hard winter.


And the Man SHOULD be happy, and perhaps he is, but he is generally not talking to me, and I can't write any more about this today. I just can't.

Hamilton HipHocracy

I have watched clips of "Hamilton," and I may be the only person in the universe to proclaim this, but:

I don't want to see it. Ever!

Okay, the dancing looks good, and the music as music may be nice. I hate rap, but that's not it.


It's the "color blind casting."


Look, I know it's politically correct, and perhaps I shall be forced to register as a neo-con Republican for saying this, but Hamilton is HISTORY, and there is a family connection for me.


The Man grew up in the neighborhood that was recently described in a NY Times real estate piece as "Hamilton Heights."  He went to the library near Hamilton's house. Hamilton's home itself, the Grange, was a museum then too, only it wasn't being flooded by tourists.

Because when the Man lived there, Hamilton Heights looked a lot like the cast of the play did. Predominantly black and Hispanic. It wasn't a "safe" place, and white people didn't go there.

Now gentrification has moved in, and in the last years that my in-laws lived there, we saw more and more white people. Starbucks was replacing the bodegas. 

So as the cast of Hamilton pretends that the Schuylers and everyone else except for Hamilton himself and the slaves weren't lily white, the neighborhood where Alexander Hamilton and his family lives is becoming more and more lily white again. How's that for irony?


In most situations color blind casting wouldn't bug me. And I could get it if this were a school play. But this is fucking history turned into a Broadway musical!

It's like Disney doing "Pocahontas" and making her a full grown young woman with all her clothes on instead of the naked tween she was when John Smith showed up, and for that matter, making him a tall handsome heart throb instead of the squatty little twerp we know he was from the records.


Why are we sugar coating history in a society where we are damned ignorant about our own history to begin with--and in the case of a good percentage of the population, pretty PROUD of that?





So I don't care how good it is. I don't care how cute Lin Manuel Miranda is.


Thank you, no thank you.


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Dear African American Gentlemen #1 and #2

Dear African American Gentleman #1,

I am sorry that when by giving you the simple paper calendar and saying that the full library system brochure was too complicated that you thought I meant it personally at you, that you were too stupid to get it.

It is simply that the brochure is so badly designed that it takes endless flipping to look through it! That's why I spent time making the paper calendar.I have had other patrons complain about it, and I am planning on taking it up with our nice but dim public information officer, the Elf from our central branch and the other librarians.

That's all. Nothing in terms of your intelligence or ability, though you immediately assumed that I meant it that way.

Dear African American Gentleman #2

I am sorry that you got huffy about making enlarged prints. You needed my help with getting the right sized paper, and you discussed how you wanted to try to enlarge the print. Since I've been doing stuff like that with copy machines since we've had copy machines that could do that, I know you often have to try, try and try again to get it the right size, and that huge blowups don 't usually work.  I gave you your money back and you were hostile.

Both of you assumed that since I am a white lady who works in a government building that I am prejudiced against you automatically, that I think you are ignorant. But the sad truth, which I first experienced with a college roommate back in 1979 is that YOU are prejudiced against me.

Yes, the world is stacked against you as an African American man. My dear friend who works with me, who is the antithesis of the stereotypical African American male, deals with that on the other side of the desk here every day. I do get it.

But if you ASSUME that every word from my mouth has hidden meaning, if you ASSUME that anyone who has my skin color is against you, than you are part of the problem too.


How about assuming that I might be nice, and helpful and will treat you with the same dignity I would treat anyone who walks into my library?  You might find that people will surprise you when you do that.

Respectfully and sadly,

The Library Lady