things i like
Susannah and I bought tickets to go to Guatemala! Sooooo excited! We're going to be there for two weeks, and we've got some great stuff planned. Of course, it's all going on my credit card, but I'm throwing financial caution to the wind! I've been wanting to go to Guatemala for ages, and with Sus's friend Lisa living in Guatemala City, it's a chance I can't pass up.
I'm a big fan of dystopia novels, and I've found some good ones lately. I read Bloodsong last weekend and, while I was a little confused due to the plot being based on an ancient Icelandic myth, I was blown away by the seamless combination of religion, genetics, technology and destiny. Completely fascinating, conceptually sophisticated and unlike anything I've ever read. Neal Shusterman's Unwind speculates on how the Right to Life vs. Pro-Choice battle may resolve itself in the future - creepy and very suspenseful stuff. David Klass's Firestorm is best described as The Terminator meets An Inconvenient Truth. Sounds cheesy? It definitely is, but it's also very well written and loads of fun to read.
I. am. a. reading. machine.
Desperately trying to keep up during the final few weeks before the BBYA committee meetings in Philly this January. As of the end of December 18, I have read well over 250 books since the beginning of 2007 and I still have 46 to go. If I can squeeze in the seven audiobooks I have during my commute time, that's still 1.6 books I need to read each day until January 11, assuming I don't take any time off for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I am doomed.
We just spent three days in the snowy bounty of Winthrop. It was a mellow weekend with a small group, but we got plenty of time in on the skis. Sus learned how to skate ski this weekend and did great! By the end of the day on Saturday she was cruising around the trails and looking like a pro. Lots of great food, some time curled up by the fire with a book (or several), and so much Christmas music we were barfing up sleigh bells by Sunday afternoon. Good times...
After lots of deliberating and research, I finally took the plunge to get more tattoo work done. It took a long time to find an artist I wanted to work with, but I'm so happy I waited and took my time. Here's a few pictures of my halfway point - I go in to finish it up at the end of December. I love what he's done so far and I'm soooo excited to see the final product!
TIRED. Just worked seven days in a row, and I'm ready for a break. Looks like we get to break in the x-country skis tomorrow - even with all the rain from that whopping pineapple express, there's still (barely) enough snow to lay down some nice tracks on the skate skis. I'm looking forward to that I'm-so-totally-exhausted-I-can't-even-lift-my-arm kind of tired.
h A p P y b I r T h D a Y!!! to my man.
I know this is stupid, but it really made me laugh, so I'm sharing:
I'm going to be a reading machine until I leave for conference on January 10. The official final list of Best Books For Young Adults nominations has been posted. The final count is 216 books. I've read about 130 as of today, which means nose to the literary grindstone.
In other totally awesome literature news, Sherman Alexie won a National Book Award for The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. It warms the heart, I tell ya! Just another reason to pick it up if you haven't already.
I'm totally wiped out after doing school visits all day today. It's usually really fun to visit classes and talk to kids about books, and kids at the middle school this year seem pretty well behaved, which is great. As I was leaving my last class today, I heard a kid say "That lady made me want to read books!" Mission accomplished.
The NY Times is running this really great article about Portland's cycling culture in today's paper. I'm always impressed by the sheer number and variety of cyclists whenever I go to Portland - no matter where you are in the city, there are all different kinds of people riding bikes. What I really like about Portland's cycling culture is that I don't see as much of the blatant disregard for traffic laws like I do in Seattle. Just about every day in Seattle I see a cyclist blast through a red light or four way stop, and recently I've seen a lot of cyclists riding between lanes and weaving in and out of traffic. No wonder people hate cyclists here!
Just got back from a ride around the north end of Lake Washington. I haven't been on a bike for that long in quite a while, and now I'm desperately needing a nap. was nice to get out in the crisp fall air, though, before wintertime darkness sets in. Buddy doesn't seem to have turned back his watch, because it's only 4:00 but he's screaming for his dinner.
Is it a dream? Could it possibly be??? It is! Who knew library themed video games could be so exciting! Think you can handle being a reference librarian? Think again! Are you some sort of hot shot with Library of Congress Subject Headings? Ho ho - let's just see about that... try your luck at the Library Arcade.
A belated entry regarding Sherman Alexie. We went to hear him read a couple of weeks ago. He was promoting his new book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is an absolutely fantastic piece of work. The reading was hilarious, introspective and poignant, and I really think this is one of his best books to date. I really like Alexie's writing and, even though this title is specifially for young adults, there is a maturity to the writing that wasn't present in his earlier work. It's a quick but very powerful read and if you haven't picked it up yet, you should do so.
Busy! Work has been insane lately. Fall is usually my most hectic time of the year because I'm doing tons of school visits and other 'back to school' outreach 'n stuff. Yesterday we did a really cool program at the middle school called Danger Books!, which is a performance by Book-It, which does theater adaptations of books. It was very cool, although with about 400 middle school kids in one room it was a little loud. I did a fair amount of talking, which was kind of interesting (and a little bit scary), since I've never stood in front of a full auditorium before, but hopefully the kids learned a little bit about intellectual freedom.
Yesterday also gave me some indication that I have not quite forgotten all my Spanish (thank God). A guy came in who knew about two words of English, and I talked to him for about 10 minutes. Even though I forgot a few really basic things, I was able to get him a library card, explain library policies(!) and get some information for him. It was like a major exam and I was sweating afterwards, but it's nice to know I can communicate and native speakers actually understand what I'm saying.
In other (not quite earth shattering but still important to me) news, my mom bought me the most awesome pair of kick-ass boots for my birthday. She knows what's important. Thanks, Mom!
I like larches. Quite bit, actually. I love them in the early summer when the feathery pale green needles are just poking out, but my favorite time of year is the fall when they turn that gorgeous yellowy orange. We made a special trip to Ingalls Lake on saturday for some larch viewing, and we timed it perfectly. It was a beautiful day, and the larches were flaming yellow. Jeff has some pictures up here.
h A p P y B i R t H d A y... to me. I be 37. dang, I'm old!
Whew! Catching up with life. My presentation went GREAT! We had about 70 people there, everyone laughed at my jokes, and lots of people came up afterwards to tell us how good our talk was. What a relief!
After flying home, we jumped in the car for 3+ hours and headed to Winthrop for our annual fall mtb trip. We had a good crew and there was lots of hard biking but lots of relaxing, too. Wish we had been out there for a week, but I'll take what I can get. Jeff put up some pictures here.
Insanely busy with work right now. Nominations for the BBYA committee close on October 31, so pretty much all I'm doing right now is reading to squeeze in as many nominations as possible. I'm also presenting at a small conference this Friday with a colleague, so I'm working like crazy to get my powerpoint and talk up to snuff. We're heading out to Winthrop for the weekend - can't wait for a couple days of down time.
The Wyoming Library System as an awesome new campaign.
One more thing... I'm totally addicted to icanhascheezburger.com, and I think I have Eric to blame for that. It's ridiculously stupid yet somehow infinitely hilarious. For example:
Go log on and kill some time.
We took the bikes to colonnade last week for a little mtb action. The park is awesome and I definitely got some practice time in. I had to quit when I dumped the bike going around a switchback and sheared the sole right off my mtb shoe.
The beginning of the school year always means lots of visits to classes at the middle and high schools. Yesterday I headed to the alternative high school in Skyway to bring books to the kids and see if we could get them at least a tiny big excited about reading. Things were going well until I got to the third class. It was a new teacher and he didn't seem to have control over the class at all - kids clearly had no respect for him and I was actually a little bit scared of one kid. Anyway, they finally had to drag three of the students out of the that class for behavioral issues and I think one kid actually told me to fuck off. I sat there thinking "hmm. I should just pack my stuff up and go." I stuck it out, because it seemed like there were a couple kids who were actually interested, but I had to sit in the car for a while after that to pull myself together. In another class, one kid had snagged a book off my pile, and I took it back from him so I could tell the class about it. When I didn't start talking about it right away, he got really agitated, saying "what the fuck? she fucking took that book from me and she isn't even fucking talking about it." I kid you not, he really did this, getting louder and louder and dropping f-bombs every other word. How is anyone supposed to teach, much less learn, in this kind of environment? I know the behavioral issues are just a symptom of how messed up some of these kids are, dealing with everything from terrible home situations to addiction to massive (and often multiple) learning disabilities. I'd probably be extremely hostile, too, if I was a throwaway kid in a super crappy, run down building, and I probably wouldn't be very interested in listening to some middle-class white lady tell me about books, either. I kind of laid down the law with the staff after all that, so I shouldn't have to deal with that level of crap again. I probably wouldn't go back at all, but there are a handful of kids who I've built a relationship with who are so desperate for books that I can't say no.
Dang. Blog so sad. Maybe it's because I've actually been out and about doing lots of fun and exciting things! Last weekend we headed over to Yakima to spend the weekend with TJ and his mom in order to learn some domestic skills. Yes, we spent the weekend canning. We came home with about eight quarts of peaches and pears (plus some homemade fruit cocktail - mm!), a few jars of brined pickles, plus we did lots of spicy pickled green beans and okra. Damn good stuff.
Yesterday during our weekly gaming program at the library, I thought I would try to get in on some Super Smash Bros. Melee, since I haven't played it in a while. Not only did I get my ass kicked up and down the block, one of the kids playing was texting on his cell phone during most of the game. He was hardly even paying attention and he still kicked my ass. I am humiliated.
Judging by the weather this morning, our summer vacation truly is over.
We got home late last night after a long and very relaxing weekend out at Priest Lake, Idaho, where we stayed with some friends in their family cabin. We slept out in the open air on the beach every night, which was absolutely blissful. So many stars, great moonglow, lots of leftovers from friday's meteor shower, and a few neighbor dogs to wake us up in the morning. We did a great mountain bike ride, toured around a little in the kayaks, and spent lots of time just hanging out. It was great.
In addition to our mini vacation over the weekend, I took last week off work. No plans, no real goals... just wanted a little chance to catch my breath before school starts and my job goes back into full swing. I got lots of stuff done, did some prepping to start some new projects, finished up some old projects, and read a bunch. It was a really relaxing few days.
C o N g R a T u L a T i O n S ! ! ! to Becky and Joe. They tied the knot on Orcas Island in a beautiful ceremony overlooking the water. They look blissfully happy and I (and everyone else) wish the absolute best for them.
Man! I've been having so many problems with my bike lately. Actually, it's just the rear tire, but it's super frustrating. I was getting a lot of flats, then finally found the tiny wire that was puncturing every tube I put in. Got another flat last Sunday (in the pouring rain, AGAIN), fixed it, then rolled my bike out on Monday morning only to spy a big gaping hole in the tire from whatever I had rolled over the previous day. Had to drive to work (bleh), but Jeff gave me a new tire. Wrestled with that this morning, finally got it on, hopped on the bike only to find that I had somehow pinched the tube when I put the new tire on, so I had to drive to work AGAIN! Gah! So annoyed. I'm hoping to get it all sorted out next week so that I can leave the car at home and enjoy the ride to work again.
I'm back in the 'nose to the grindstone' committee work again. I've been on track, reading about one book per day. There have been a few great standouts, a lot of 'good but not great' titles, and quite a few duds. Here are some of my favorite titles of the year so far:
Yeah, they are technically young adult books, but that doesn't mean they aren't beautifully written, thoroughly engaging works of literature. I suggest you head to your local library and check them out. Right now!
It's been a busy yet unexciting two weeks. Mostly I've just been working, knitting and doing lots of reading; haven't been out of town much but the next two weekends should be a blast. We're heading to Orcas this weekend for Becky and Joe's wedding, then over to Priest Lake in Idaho for a long holiday weekend.
Lately I've been feeling like our HELOC is a big ol' iron weight strapped around my neck. Borrowing that money was the only way to buy our place, but I hate it with a vengeance so I've decided to take charge. A few weeks ago I whipped up a fairly strict budget that will allow us to pay off our debt a bit faster and also squirrel away a few dollars every month so we can do a big vacation for Jeff's 40th birthday. Although I've tried to do this before, we were pretty lax about the whole thing and weren't able to accomplish much. No more! It's time for some belt-tightening and doing without some luxuries. So far we've been doing really well, and I've doubled the money I'm putting in my IRA every month! God knows I don't want to be working as a greeter at WalMart when I'm 80.
I felt like total and complete crap when I woke up this morning, so I stayed home from work. Mostly I'm just really tired and have a rotten headache, but I feel bad enough to justify staying home, especially since I don't remember the last time I called in sick. So far I've taken a bath, read a book, and knitted a tiny bit. I'm thinking about taking a nap and maybe reading another book. Maybe even throw some laundry in if I'm feeling energetic enough.
Top Ten Tips for Staying Broke. It's funny 'cause it's true.
We're heading out to the Teanaway River area this weekend for our annual camping extravaganza. Lots of lazing about, reading trashy magazines and chillin' with my homies. We should be able to squeeze in some hiking and maybe even mountain biking between all that leisure time.
One thing I've noticed about guys riding bikes is that they really don't like it when someone else catches up to them or, god forbid, passes them. Last Thursday I was riding home via Lake Washington Blvd and there was a guy ahead of me who kept looking back (literally) every minute or so. And while this is pure conjecture, it seemed like he was pretty worried that I was going to catch up. Call me petty, but I couldn't help but ride right behind him for a while. I even went a few miles out of my way to stay on his ass as long as I could before turning towards home. I guess it's just payback for all those times I've been waiting at a light and some dude rides up and pulls up in front of me because he "knows" he'll be faster than me just because I'm female. And (pettiness rears its ugly head again) I must say, there's nothing more satisfying than passing those guys and leaving them in the dust.
I've been commuting to work by bike a lot lately - three times last week! I even shook off apathy and braved the downpour on Friday. Nothing like putting on soggy bike clothes after working all day just to get wet again. And of course I got a flat just a mile or so from home. Here are some pics, the full set is here.
Finally catching up after being out of town so much. I took a little break from reading, but the countown is beginning again. I'm back to about a book per day, although the stress level is still pretty low... for now. We just got an email from the committee chair saying we should have more nominations by now, so start reading or else. Vacation is over!
I'm also working on a new project - yay! When we were in Portland a couple weeks ago, I found a fantastic yarn shop (in my new favorite area in Portland - Alberta Street) called Close Knit and couldn't resist. I've been wanting to make this 'adventure bag' for a while, so I guess the knitting stars aligned, because I'm over halfway finished and I just started it a few days ago. It's looking gigantic right now, but once the bag is felted it should be about 25% smaller. The yarn looks super drab in this picture, but is a really lovely bright leafy green.
Another article about the newer, hipper librarian from the NYTimes.
Just back from a short trip to Minot, North Dakota to pay our last respects to Jeff's grandmother. Despite the sadness, it was a good weekend. I got to meet more of Jeff's family and learn a lot about his family history, and North Dakota is absolutely beautiful.
Long live America!
Jeff and I just had a lovely long weekend. We headed down to Portland on Saturday morning with every intention of grabbing a cup of coffee and a delicious snack before heading into the wilderness for a backpack trip, but we got completely waylaid by the magic of stumptown. We ended up having a delicious dinner at ken's artisan pizza and then spending the night in the absolutely lovely ace hotel. It was totally extravagent, but really really nice. We did head out early on Sunday morning to backpack in the Columbia Gorge. We started with a beautiful six miles up the Eagle Creek trail, which is full of waterfalls and pools - really beautiful stuff. We ended up hiking about 14 miles until we got to Wahtum Lake, where I forced myself to stay awake until the barely acceptable hour of 9:00, after which I slept like a rock for about 10 hours. The next day we hiked about nine more miles, most of it on the PCT. At that point, we were still feeling pretty good, so we decided to keep going and finish up the last 5 miles of the trail. Little did we know that hell was waiting for us just around the corner. We had (incorrectly) assumed that we would be able to find a place to camp somewhere along the final stretch, but the last five miles were super steep and cut into a 45 degree sidehill, so camping was impossible. It was honestly the worst five miles I've ever hiked in my life. By the time we finally finished, our legs were totally destroyed from going straight downhill for hours. Jeff's feet were so hot and sweaty that his socks felted. We've spent the last two days hobbling around trying to recover.
I thought I would have a few days off before my committee work picked up again, but apparently I was delusional. Three days back from conference and people were nominating books already. Additionally, fall is the major publishing push, so I can look forward to an even heavier reading load through the end of the year. I'm still trying to finish up a few books from the first round - I feel like I'm behind already!
Back from five days in DC. Was totally exhausted after all the conferencing and traveling and had to go to bed last night at 9:30. I spent most of my time in committee discussions, so I wasn't able to see too much of DC (didn't even take any pictures!), but I did get to wander around a little bit. We stayed in a gentrifying neighborhood, which made for some random juxtapositions. There are some really nice houses right next to abandoned buildings or empty lots (so many empty lots and buildings), and one day I walked down a block of beautiful restorations only to see some dude spray painting his piece-o-shit Cadillac right in the middle of it all. The only major touristy thing I saw was the National Museum of the American Indian, which I was really impressed by.
The conference was really fun, and my committe meetings were quite a learning experience. It was so rewarding to have hours of meaty discussion about all the books I've been reading and to hear other people's perspectives and insight. It's funny to see how some people can think something is brilliant while the other half firmly believes it is a literary disaster. Good stuff!
The NYTimes has a good article about easy ways to cut down on energy consumption when it comes to electronics.
Now that Jeff has his MUP, hopefully he can get to work on making sure this doesn't happen anymore. After just seeing my first evening grosbeaks, I'd hate to see them disappear in the name of WalMarts and starter castles.
Back in town and feeling refreshed after four days of camping in the Methow Valley. We spent most of our time sleeping, sitting in the sun and reading, and just relaxing, but we managed to squeeze in a lot of mountain biking as well. So great to get away for a few days. Lots of great birding, too. We were sitting around the campfire on Monday night when a great horned owl flew into a tree above us. I love owls, but there's definitely something scary about a bird that big, especially when his head swivels around and those eyes just stare right at you. We also saw lots of evening grosbeaks, which are beautiful little birds. Bonus wildlife sightings included a really fast mouse running through the campsite and a fat hoary marmot sitting by the road, but the extra bonus wildlife sighting was a coyote running across the road outside of Winthrop. We got a great look at the little guy, and he was absolutely beautiful.
I've definitely been cutting back on the reading a bit. Trying to squeeze it all was making it difficult to really absorb and think about the books I was reading, so I've cut back to about one per day. I will still have most of them done by ALA next week, and can catch up with the rest after the conference. Latest stats: Books read: 82 of 94. Days until ALA: 7! Number of books I need to read each day until then: 2. Realistic number of books I expect to complete by then: 7. Today I'm going to finish up a book on CD while I knit a little. A perfectly respectable rainy morning activity, no?
I've been riding my bike to work once or twice a week. It's been so nice to get back out there and get some exercise. Plus, for every mile I ride instead of drive, I'm saving a whopping pound of CO2. Oh yeah...
BBYA Committe Update: Books read: 69 of 94. Days until ALA conference: 17. Number of books I need to read each day until then: 1.52. Am I going to make it? I think so. I've got a few days off next week and we'll be camping over in Winthrop, so that should give me some extra time for those pesky long books.
I'm so excited to go to Washington DC! Granted, most of my time will be spent in meetings discussing the myriad of books I've been reading, but I think I can squeeze a few tourist attractions and some delicious meals... and maybe a wee bit of shopping. If anyone has suggestions, let me know!
We had a busy and tiring but really fun weekend. Friday night, we threw the bikes and sleeping bags in the car and headed up to Bellingham to see our friends Marlin and Christine. Marlin was doing a free 3-D slide show of his cycling adventures in Ethiopia. Had a few beers and crashed out under the stars in the backyard, where we found ourselves curled up with a sweet little gray cat throughout the night until those awful squirrels woke us up in the morning. After a leisurely breakfast of way too many bagels, we mounted the bikes and headed to Galbraith Mountain for what I thought was going to be just a short little tour. Instead, I got my ass thoroughly kicked for four hours. It was fun to be back on the mountain bike, though, and hopefully working so hard on my first day of the season will make things a little easier when we get to Winthrop next week.
June!? How do these things happen?
There is much to celebrate this week. First, Jeff's committee professors signed off on his professional project yesterday, so he's all cleared to graduate - YAAAY!!!! Second, Mary and Suzie are graduating as well, with an MPA and DPT, respectively. YAAAY!!! And third, many congratulations to Mike! He was on the team who developed/designed that fancy new Surface. After years of top secret work, it's finally unveiled and getting tons of good press. Hooray!!!
As for me, I'm still slaving away on the books. BBYA update: Books read: 60 of 94. Days until ALA conference: 21. Number of books I need to read each day until then: 1.6.
So. very. tired.
After a week of school visits, reading like crazy and prepping for an interview, I've got the serious beat-down today. I've got today off and plan to spend at least a little time outside in the sun.
BBYA Committe Update: Just found out 94 books have been nominated, not 93. crap. Books read: 50. Days until ALA conference: 28. Number of books I need to read each day until then: 1.5.
I've spent this week at the middle school, visiting classes and promoting our new teen summer reading program and a bunch of new books. I love talking to 6th graders. The girls are mostly normal young "tweens," but the boys are tightly wound bundles of spazziness that can explode at the slightest provocation. Whenever I bust out with Toilets of the World, the class quickly dissolves into a screaming mass of chaos. It's pretty fun.
BBYA Committe Update: Books read: 49 of 93. Days until ALA conference: 30. Number of books I need to read each day until then: 1.6. All I do is read, and I'm still falling behind. I wake up and read until I have to go to work. I read during breaks, and sometimes I sneak into the back room when it's slow and I read. I read when I get home from work until my eyes start to hurt or it's time to go to bed. I just got a couple titles on CD, so now I "read" when I'm in the car, too. My eyeballs are about to disintingrate.
BBYA Committe Update: The first nomination period closed yesterday. Final tally: 93 nominations. Number of those that I've read: 38. Days until ALA conference: 37. Number of books I need to read each day until then: 1.5. So far I've been reading approximately four hours per day. This is not enough. I will see you all in six weeks, when my eyes have dried up and fallen out of my head.
A belated Happy Birthday to Valerie, and a special "old lady happy birthday" to Caroline, who has reached the ripe old age of 30.
Hmm... I'm not really sure where the time is going these days. Seems like I just updated a couple of days ago... maybe it's because I've been doing some fun things like this:
First camping trip of the season last weekend! Jeff, Mary, Stephen, Roger and I packed up the skis and the tents and headed up the Teanaway River to ski Iron Peak. It felt soooo good to be out of the city, curled up in a warm sleeping bag, listening to the rushing river all night. We had a lovely bonfire (and s'mores!) on Saturday night, spent some time griping about the rain, but then woke up to blue skies. We had to hike a while before reaching the snow, then we skinned up to the top of Iron Peak. Well, everyone except me. I dropped in a little early because the snow was really soft and I wasn't feeling super comfortable sliding around on the steep slope while trying to get up to the top. It was great fun, and lovely to be on snow even though we had to carry our skis for miles in order to do it. Jeff has a few pictures up here.
First day on the bike in seven months. My ass is a little sore, but I'm ready for my bike commuting to start. With gas getting more and more expensive every day, I can't really justify driving just for the convenience, plus this way I get a couple of hours of exercise while simultaneously saving the planet.
Yikes! I've been procrastinating a little and it's all catching up with me now. I have to read about 60 books by June 22 for my BBYA committee. I've been doing the math, and somehow it's not quite adding up in my favor. I did manage to get two finished yesterday, though, so maybe there's hope.
***h A p P y b I r T h d A y*** to Shanti, Laura, Sean and Eric. I've known these four wonderful people forever and I'm so lucky to have them as friends. Much love to each of them.
(thanks everyone for letting me steal your photos)
I have been playing so much Guitar Hero that I feel like a rock star. It's completely ridiculous to be sitting in my living room pushing buttons on a little plastic guitar, but it is HI-larious and really fun.
Hoo-wee! I'm tired. Turns out running 13 miles of trails with 1800' of elevation gain is really difficult. The race was harder than I was anticipating and it took me a long-ass time to finish (2.5 hours), but I did it and I didn't have to walk too much. Half of me wants to train like a fiend to improve my time and redeem myself, the other half can't be bothered. Ask me again next month. Jeff did GREAT, though, and came in just minutes behind a former Olympian! Very impressive.
We spent the rest of the weekend resting and recovering, but we did some bird watching Sunday morning and saw well over 30 different species of birds, including Mountain Bluebirds, lots of Western Bluebirds, wild turkeys that looked exactly like this, and a Blue Grouse in full on "lookin' for love" display. Very successful!
We're heading to Winthrop today for the Rattler Half Marathon. My knees hurt already. Wish us luck!
We had a very successful Second Annual Easter Styles party this year. Our photos aren't up yet, but Mike put up a nice set on his flickr page.
Another long week at work has got me checking job listings this morning.
I'm still training for the 1/2 marathon coming up next weekend. I ran somewhere between 10 and 11 miles last Saturday, and I was feeling pretty good until the last couple of miles, when I started getting pretty hungry. A few hours later, though, my knees hurt so bad I could hardly walk. I wasn't really feeling it while I was running, so I'm not sure what the problem was. It had completely gone away by Sunday night, though, so I'm going to do a test run this morning. If I'm pain free, I'm going for it, but if they start hurting again, I'll just consider myself support crew/cheering committee for Jeff when he races. No need to cause permanent damage for one little race...
It's been a long week at work. Last night was pretty hellish... it was pretty much three hours of crowd control, but it really just felt like babysitting children raised by wolves. Today was just long and boring, and I was all excited to just lay on the couch and bask in the glow of bad tv, but Buddy ruined everything by getting a bunch of poop stuck to his butt and scooting ALL OVER the apartment trying to get it off. There were little squiggly shit smears in the bedroom, kitchen and living room, and the entire house smelled like cat poop for far too long. Soooo relaxing at the end of a long week! It's actually kind of sad when he gets poop stuck to his butt because he gets really freaked out like something is attacking him, and he'll run around the apartment in a state of panic looking behind him. It all probably stems from the very traumatic Emergency Enema 2005.
In non-poop-related news, I'm still reading like crazy; I think I've finished four books so far this week. Last week I received probably 50 titles from different publishers for BBYA consideration. I've enlisted the help of a handful of teens to help me pick through the titles coming in, which has been really fun. It can be really hard to connect with some kids, so this has been a nice way to draw in some new faces. I've also had (drum roll, please), two, yes two, boys come to the teen book club, and they've attended three sessions! Well, really just two and a half sessions, and I think they just come for the girls, but they do actually talk about books most of the time they are there, which is pretty awesome.
Poor sad stale blog. So neglected. So lonely.
Finally wrapped up Spanish 201 on Thursday. I'm kind of sad that I won't be continuing next quarter, but I really need a break from homework and twice-weekly commitments. The long-term goal of fluency means I'll pick it back up, though, maybe in the fall. Might need to do some sort of vacation in a Spanish-speaking country to get some practice in. Hmmm....
Jeff and I headed up to Alpental this morning despite threats of rain. We had a few turns in before the rain really started coming down, and I got some good practice, plus a few bitch slaps. The frustrating part is that I learned to snowboard at Alpental, and after so many years on that mountain I know all the runs and can usually rip it up pretty good. However, someone (me) forgot they are still learning to ski, and once I dropped into International I realized I had bitten off far more than I could chew. Ten minutes and a full case of the fear sweats later, I managed to side slip my way down to a slope that had a low enough angle for me to make a turn. Quite humbling, really, but it gave me lots of incentive to get better.
Feeling like donkey doodee today so I'm staying home from work. I think my last couple of weeks have been a bit too busy and it's all finally caught up with me... I tend to crash and burn if I don't have a good amount of down time. I'm hoping to have a quality 'mental health day' - catch up on a few things, take a bath and a nap, and do some reading and knitting.
Super tired after a really long work week and helping Mary celebrate her 34th birthday last night. But no matter! We're off to Portland this morning for a little mini-vacation and to see nephew Jordan in a play. We rarely see Jeff's sister Jenner and her family, so it will be nice to hang out with them for a little while. We're also planning on doing a long trail run in Forest Park on Sunday before we head home. We're planning on doing the Rattler half-marathon next month, and if I'm going to survive, I need to start training!
I'd give my left arm to be out in the mountains somewhere right now instead of sitting in a dreary rainy city thinking about how much I don't want to go to work tomorrow. I'm not sure what it was about our trip last weekend, but it really smacked me upside the head like a big 2 x 4 of profundity. I'm craving simplicity and solitude in a big way.
Back from our trip and I am happy and exhausted. So fun! I loved being out in the mountains for that long and I really miss sleeping in a yurt that's half-buried in the snow. Day one started with a three hour ski tour up to the yurts, followed by lunch, a quick avy beacon review, and then a few quick turns before sunset. The next two days were seriously ass-kicking. We would head out around 9:30 am after a huge breakfast, then skin up various slopes and make tracks until it was time to head back at the end of the day. On our last day, we squeezed in a few runs before skiing the four miles back down to the cars. In between all the skiing we had tons of fun hanging out with our three hosts, ate so much delicious food, sat in the seriously awesome sauna yurt, and generally had an absolute blast. Our three hosts were fantastic - super nice, knowledgeable and completely accomodating (I had special tofu versions of everything!). They also busted ass all weekend breaking trail, cooking, hauling water and generally doing whatever needed to be done to make sure we had a fantastic time. Well worth every cent, and we are already planning our trip for next year. A few pictures are here.
Well, we're off to the Wallowa Alpine Huts today... I'm excited and still a bit nervous - hope my skiing skills are up to par. Pics and full report early next week.
A comment recently submitted by a patron: "An employee by the first name of Summer was very helpful. Her helpfulness and knowledge reminded me of just how beautiful America is. Thank God for our library system." Thank God for the library?! How awesome is that?
My work on the BBYA committee has officially started. I received two boxes of books this week and have already been reading quite a bit. Only 230 books to go!
this is a pretty cool little video put together by a professor at Kansas State University. It's a little gimmicky and perhaps a touch melodramatic, but it frames the concept of Web 2.0 quite nicely. When I think about what I was doing with computers 10 years ago (ie - not much), it's amazing just how pervasive technology and especially the web is in our lives today. Even more so is the extent to which users are shaping the internet as a whole.
I am completely exhausted. We headed up to Snoqualmie Pass last night for some skiing to get more practice before our trip to the Wallowa Alpine Huts next weekend, and I'm a bit of a zombie today because of it. Conditions were less than prime, so it was a lot of hard work to get down the slope each time. I'mma gonna get my ass kicked for sure!
Last night we packed into a very crowded Elliot Bay Book Co. to see Jim Harrison. He was exactly what we expecting - grizzled, opinionated, brilliantly funny and delightfully un-PC. It was wonderful to hear him read and gave me a deeper appreciation of his work. I also ran into one of the professors I used to work with a few years ago, who turned out to be the author's brother. Small world, indeed.
Jeff, Stephen, Doug and I headed up to Hyak last night after work for a little moonlight skate ski. It was absolutely beautiful out and the bright bright moon lit our way through the cold creek trail and up towards hidden valley. The steep climb was totally worth it; after we came out above the trees, it was lovely skiing on super fast tracks under the big full moon. The snow off-trail was super firm and had a nice puffy layer of hoar frost, so we took a shortcut and skated overland for a while. Definitely the most memorable ski in a very long time.
I have been trying really hard to read The Amazing Adventures of Kavelier and Clay, but I just can't! I know know what my problem is... I can't get into it at all. Since one of the author's other books, Summerland, is a favorite of mine, I just assumed I would love this one as well. Strange. Maybe I'll give it a rest for while and try again later.
My new hero Michael Pollan has a good article in this week's NYTimes magazine about how and what we eat, and how and what we should be eating. Turns out, it's pretty simple. Eat food. Real food, not something that comes out of a box with health claims printed all over it. A few basic rules of thumb: if your great grandparents wouldn't recognize it as food, it's not. Pass on things with more than five ingredients, especially if you can't pronounce them or don't know what they are. Shop outside the grocery store and, for the love of God, stop buying things with high fructose corn syrup. Spend more, eat less. Increase variety - humans nees between 50 and 100 different chemical compounds and elements to be healthy. Given than 2/3 of our calories now come from corn, wheat, rice and soy, it's impossible that we're getting what we need.
I know I'm getting all preachy, but this is important stuff! Eating local, small-scale food is healthier, tastes far better than industrial manufactured "food," and reduces the level of pesticides and chemicals in the overall food chain. Doesn't that sound like a good idea?
We had a great day skate skiing yesterday up at Snoqualmie Pass. Sun was out, temperature was perfect, and the grey jays were out in full force.
I've been pretty immersed in Michael Pollan's latest book. I recommend it, even if you couldn't care less about the food industry. It's fascinating to know just how far corn in all its many forms has invaded our food supply. I've become somewhat obsessed with where my food comes from and how it is processed, how many miles it had to travel to get to me, and how much water, electricity and petroleum it took to pick, wash, and bag that fancy organic spring salad mix. I've always figured that if it's organic, then it's ok. And, to a point, it is: for the soil, the workers and processors, and the environment in general. However, preveailing wisdom now is that local often trumps organic. The economical and environmental costs of getting that organic lettuce from California to my table can be higer than buying its locally and conventionally grown cousin. I'm considering resubscribing to a CSA program and will rely more heavily on farmer's markets this year. Just doin' my part...
...h A p P y B i R t H d A y !!!... to my brother Birch!
The librarians are here! Today is the first day of the American Library Association's Midwinter Conference and Seattle is crawling with librarians from all over the nation. I'll be attending a gaming discussion group tomorrow and sitting in on some of the BBYA discussions. Plus, Jen is here from Iowa - fun!
The Seattle Times had a nice article in the paper today highlighting the programs, services and outreach that libraries currently offer to teens. The quoted me several times, which was kind of exhilarating but mostly just horrifying. I wish I sounded a bit more, um, professional, but what can you do? Full text is here
Last night we watched An Inconvenient Truth, and even though I've heard all the stats a million times, it's still shocking to see that the polar ice caps and thousands of species really will be gone in 50 years. Massive, inconceivable ramifications that could be slowed or prevented, but people are either ignorant or just too lazy to care. Driving to work is actually a huge moral dilema for me and I feel guilty for getting in my car every time it's not absolutely necessary, so it's amazing (and infuriating) that people will drive three blocks to the store, or drive to work when they could just as easily take the bus. It's immensely depressing how few people are willing to make even the smallest changes to slow the damage we're doing.
what is this craziness? more snow?!
Jeff and Roger opened up a can o' whupass on me today. We went to Hyak for a nice skate session, and granted, I did say that I wanted a serious workout today, but damn! Three plus hours of skating, with lots and lots of climbing seriously kicked my ass. I could hardly move when it was time to get out of the car today and I'm a bit of a zombie at the moment. Might need a nap.
My latest project: little kitteh
Love the snow... it's always a delight when it snows in the city. Here's a view from the front door.
Someone call the wambulance! My vacation is officially over.
Here's a picture of my latest project, and a picture of him with all his buddies:
Next up is this one, but I'll need to get some pink yarn first. I've been doing tons of knitting during my vacation and it's been really fun. I miss getting all creative! After my next Spanish class, I'm going to take a break for a while so that I have time to work on more projects - yay projects!
Today is the last day for the Christmas tree... I do love having a tree every year. This year's was especially nice, I think:
A (sort of) hilarious article from the New York Times about public libraries across the nation dealing with overcrowding and rowdy teens. This is exactly what I deal with every day after school, and it's somehow comforting to know that we're not the only ones. I wholeheartedly agree with the following quote from the article, which says that "...the growing conflicts are the result of an increase in the number of latchkey children, a decrease in civility among young people and a dearth of "third places" - neither home nor school - where kids can be kids." I can't tell you how many kids we see at the library every single day for three or more hours because they have nowhere else to go. I know working single mothers are in a bind, but most 12 year olds simply can't behave themselves for five hours in a library after being in school all day. Additionally, I've been absolutely shocked at how we are sometimes treated by high school and even middle school students when we ask them to follow the rules - nothing like having an 8th grade kid call you a fucking bitch. At work we've recently been making a serious effort to crack down on behavioral problems and especially repeat offenders... I'd really like to see a more library-like environment in the new year. Wishful thinking? I'll keep you posted.
January 1, 2007
Happy New Year!
Wow. 2007. Where does the time go? I'm currently winding down with some hot tea and bad television after a very festive holiday. Jeff, TJ and I drove out to Leavenworth on New Year's Eve for a little fun in the snow. We met up with Christine and Marlin, Doug, and a few others for some skate skiing. Afterwards, we headed to Doug's cabin north of Leavenworth, where, after Mary, Stephen and Nick arrived, the festivities began. We had a nice big bonfire outside in the snow, and there was much craziness and perhaps a few too many drinks for some people (smarty me stopped after just two!). A late night meant a late start this morning, but Mary, Stephen and I managed to sqeeze in a beautiful afternoon on snowshoes hiking in the Snow Creek area while Jeff and TJ worked off their hangovers with some skiing.
It's been a great year for me for so many reasons. I've got so much to be thankful and happy for, and I feel so incredibly lucky to have my job, my home, my family and friends, Buddy, and especially Jeff. I can only hope that the coming year will be as good as the last, and I wish the same for all of you!