Sunday, December 21, 2008


This “low holiday” or “lesser sabbat” falls on the Winter Solstice, the longest night and shortest day, when the decreasing days give way to increasing light and life. The Goddess becomes the Great Mother and once again gives birth to the new Sun King. This sabbat is also known as Midwinter’s Eve. This date varies each year.

This is the holiday that i celebrate with "Seasons Greetings" (and i always send out cards with out the mention of Christ even though most of my friends are Christians.) I also love winter!
and i don't consider it at all low!

Friday, October 31, 2008

all hallow's eve

One of the two most important “high holidays” or “grand sabbats,” this festival marks the beginning and end of the pagan year. It is the beginning of the resting season of the land, a time of remembrance of those who have gone before, and a time to pierce the veil between the worlds and divine what the coming year holds. This sabbat is also known as All Hallows, Hallow E’en, Halloween, and Samhain (meaning “summer’s end”). Depending on where you are from, “Samhain” is pronounced “sow-in” (in Ireland), “sow-een” (in Wales), “sav-en” (in Scotland), or “sam-hane” (in the US, where Gaelic is not spoken). This date stays the same each year.
Note: Some pagans participate in non-pagan Halloween festivities on 31 October and then celebrate All Hallow’s Eve “Old Style” when the sun has reached fifteen degrees Scorpio (6 November 2008; this date varies each year).

Monday, September 22, 2008


This “low holiday” or “lesser sabbat” falls on the Autumnal Equinox, when once more the balance of day and night are equal. This sabbat is also the height of the harvest and is sometimes called Harvest Home. This date varies each year.
The leaves begin to turn from green to brilliant reds and yellows, animals start to migrate, and the harvest is underway by the time of the autumn equinox. Celebrate Mabon on September 21 with rituals, mythology, craft projects, and magic!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

"well i never felt more like singing the blues...

here i sit, awake again, headaching and with a new mystery abdominal pain that has had me wishing for death going on almost two months now.

not such a great mood i'm in.

Friday, August 01, 2008


This “high holiday” or “greater sabbat” marks the first harvest. This is the feast of Lugh and of the Sacrificial King, who a gingerbread man most often represents these days. This sabbat is also known as Lughnassah, Lughnasadh, and Lamastide. This date stays the same each year.
Note: Some pagans celebrate Lammas “Old Style” when the sun has reached fifteen degrees Leo (6 August 2008; this date varies each year).

Friday, July 04, 2008

why drinking the entire bottle of shiraz might not be the best idea

You may find yourself driving down the freeway drunk (and i really do try not to drive drunk, but occasionally when judgement is shot and you call your ex up just to talk and he wants you to come over it seems like a good idea at the time) and lost looking for your ex-boyfriend's house which is on the other side of time, rarely visited and somehow always hard to find. Sometimes it seems that you have slipped into an alternate universe going round and round (or not round and round but always going in the wrong direction that only gets you more lost and doesn't seem to provide a turning point until you are much further north or west than you should be and you discover things with names like micro motels(isn't a motel itself usually small enough?) where once you get in the driveway you can't find your way out for hours.) And you are grateful for your iPod but it keeps playing and even though you want to give up and go home you can't even seem to find your way there either.

Call the ex and call the ex for help and guidance and finally stumble your way there without ever getting arrested (even though he was the one with a suspended license.)

And it is nice to be with someone who knows you well and who you can be comfortable with (and in the morning he even knows/remembers how you take your coffee and offers to make you breakfast.) But you can't help wondering how exactly you got here and want to leave.

But i always live my life with no regrets!

Friday, June 20, 2008

midsummer's eve

This “low holiday” or “lesser sabbat” falls on the Summer Solstice, when the Sun is at the peak of its power. This is the longest day and shortest night of the year. From this time onwards, the days gradually grow shorter again. This date varies each year.
Note: This sabbat is also known as Litha (based on a Saxon word meaning the opposite of “Yule” but for which there is no historical evidence of its use) and St. John’s Eve (Christian name).

Celebrate in whatever way makes you happy!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

how can i dream about the soles of my feet if you're sitting on top of my head???

Was in the middle of figuring out where my dream was heading (or just beginning to enjoy the bizareness of it when Dixie Louanne bothered and awoke me both by sitting on my head and rattling the blind. Now i'll never know!

do you ever get the feeling people just call the local reference librarian because they're lonley and need to chat (or because they are obnoxious and bitchy and need someone to yell at and have already lost any friends they might have had?
Do you ever get the feeling i am just a lonely old -spinster-cat lady?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

and who are your favorite fictional librarians

I can't think of any of mine of the top of my head (i know i've read a few though. Here's an article from the Seattle Public Library's Shelf Talk mentioning a few (mostly mysteries which i don't read much.)
I didn't find many likable (or even memorable characters~maybe that's why i can't mention any names) from In the Stacks: Short Stories About Libraries and Librarians ~nor was i all that fond of Borchert's Free for All non-fiction adventure, anyway.

Unleash your inner librarian

by David W (5/4/08)

What are the odds? The brand spanking new Library of Congress subject heading for “Public Libraries – California – anecdotes’” is getting quite a workout. In the past six months we have seen the publication of two humorous memoirs by librarians in the Los Angeles area: Don Borchert’s Free For All: Oddballs, Geeks and Gangstas in the Public Library and Scott Douglass’s Quiet Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian. They’re both entertaining slices of the library life (or as I like to call it, “The Game”), and I recommend them both. You may have to get in line, as they are both proving to be very popular, and not just with library staff either! It seems a lot of you are interested in exploring your inner librarian. While you’re waiting to get a behind-the-scenes look at the glamorous, high-stakes world of public librarianship, let me introduce some of my favorite fictional librarians.

Meet Cassandra Mitchell, librarian of the small town of Sechelt, British Columbia. While perhaps less well-known than the prim and plucky Miss Helma Zukas just down the coast in Bellehaven, Miss Mitchell is smart, compassionate, resourceful, sexy, a trained professional with a deep commitment to her community, and a love of books, which, she writes, “are my work, my comfort, my joy.” This, in a personal ad answered by RCMP Staff Sergeant Karl Alberg, who observes her well-rounded character in acute detail. “He noticed that as she shelved the books, she pulled some slightly farther out, and then, unthinking, ran her fingers along the spines as if playing a harp.” Small wonder Alberg becomes her love interest and fellow crime solver in nine evocative, psychological mysteries by L.R. (Lauralie) Wright, beginning with The Suspect, winner of the 1985 Edgar award for best novel. Readers with a Masters in Library Science will find special poignancy in A Touch of Panic, in which Cassandra is stalked by that most exasperating of villains, a pompous, predatory professor of library science. Wright died in 2001, but her masterful Northwest mysteries deserve to live on with fans of P.D. James, Ruth Rendell, and mainstream fiction readers as well.
Dorcas Mather, head of Rhode Island’s Squanto Library and droll narrator of Jincy Willett's cunningly titled Winner of the National Book Award, in which she offers her uproariously trenchant views on readers and books, most notably a tell-all crime story written by her twin sister. Abigail Mather is sensual, fleshy, impulsive and free-spirited, while Dorcas is bookish, angular, self-contained and sensuous only toward books. “When I was twelve, and An American Tragedy was my favorite summer book, (Abigail) thrilled to Forever Amber…” Yet the odd pair is linked by mutual love, and the despicable attentions of the superlatively creepy Conrad Lowe, with tragicomic results. Although Dorcas seems at first glance stereotypic spinster librarian, her keen perceptions, vulnerabilities and devastating wit make this a compelling, hilarious and irresistible read.
Myrtle Rusk, the academic librarian heroine of Michael Griffith’s Bibliophilia who has been pressed into service by the head librarian at LSU to prowl the stacks in search of clandestine coitus and to curtail all such free exchange of bodily fluids on library property. Not surprisingly, Myrtle resents being placed in the role of “…deputy sheriff of nookie… a sexless functionary …that joy-spurning old biddy, the Puritan at the Circulation Desk.” It is fair to say that the library itself resents it as well, for one can feel the life force pulsing through the aisles, yearning to break free of its hidebound restraints in small transgressions and grand flagrances, just as Griffith’s prose roils and bubbles with savory expressions. When the library director’s vampish daughter sets her sights on Seti, a pious, charmingly befuddled Egyptian exchange student studying water management, Myrtle must somehow find a way to dam or channel the inevitable deluge.
Then there are librarians’ librarians, such as Alexander Short, the brilliant young hero of Alex Kurzweil’s The Grand Complication, who sublimates his personal insecurities and shortcomings into the exhilarating chase after elusive knowledge, and whose relentless skill at unlocking puzzles and finding arcane answers just opens up more questions. Or William of Baskerville, that daring champion of free thought from Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose who must puzzle through that cruel perversion of learning – a library ingeniously designed to confound its users. Who of us have not shared his frustration from time to time?
We’ve only scratched the surface, so look for more posts on great fictional librarians. And make some noise: Who are your favorite librarians, in fact or fiction?

maybe i'll be able to think of a few at some point...
Well, i do have some fondness for Dewey of Unshelved fame (not to mention Dewey the "Small-Town Library Cat" and Robert Hellenga's Margot Harrington of The Sixteen Pleasures. And okay, The Camel Bookmobile's Fiona Sweeney by Masha Hamilton was somewhat appealing as was of Josephine Carr's somewhat stereotypical Alley Sheffield of The Dewy Decimal System of Love; and of course, i loved Henry from Audrey Neffeneger's The Time Traveler's Wife (haven't seen the movie, though.) So maybe i can think of a few. There is also Charlaine Harris's Aurora Teagarden series, which i haven't read, but i do like the Sookie Stackhouse series (or True Blood for you television aficionados~which i have seen and loved.) And, gosh, that's a mystery too (go figure...)
Then there are a few non-fictional librarians that i appreciate: starting with Henry T. Coutts and Edmond Lester Pearson from the turn of the last century (i'm talking about the 19th here, folks~couldn't find these in any library or even ILL so spent more than a pretty penny to actually buy them!); Joel Rane (Scream at the Librarian); Betty Vogel (A Librarian is to Read); and Will Manley.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

bookthoughtdraft #1 (not a full-grown post) Enola Holmes

So, good intentions have left me with a gigantic (read: massive, enormous, colossal, extensive, imposing, ponderous, monumental, cumbersome, towering [get the thesaurutical idea? i think i've actually amassed about two years worth~yes, i said two years] ) pile (pile being only theoretical, of course) of unposted posts that i keep meaning to post. I'm going to start posting them unfinished (the idea being to make it just one step further along on the stumbling path of my life. That being said, let me present the first such draft (appropriately back-dated, but of course.)
maybe one day i'll find my notes for these.
The Case of the Missing Marquess is the first in the Enola Holmes Mysteries series by Nancy Springer (Enola Holmes being the much younger sister of Sherlock and Mycroft). Enola's mother disappears leaving the Holmes' brothers to threaten Enola with boarding school where she'll learn to be a "lady" (the last thing she wants, by the by) after they see the appalling amount of freedom Enola has to run about and be herself. When Enola discovers a series of cyphers left behind by her mother (who has conviently been teaching her the art of cyphering) Enola runs away from the Holmes' estate to London both to find her mother and escape her brothers' plan. As soon as she hits the city she immediately stumbles upon a mystery of her own involving the disappearance of young Viscount Tewksbury. She uses what is apparently a genetic propensity to solve the case employing a wide variety of disguises. Springer plays with quite a few ideas surrounding the restrictive Victorian mores, but if Enola's character seems to make some asynchronous slips her naivety makes up for it. She is an ingenuous ingenue. Sherlock comes off as rather an ass at the beginning but his character grows on you a little (the same can't be said of Mycroft so much.)
The second Enola Holmes mystery~The Case of the Left-Handed Lady has Enola (still in hiding from Mycroft and Sherlock) setting up shop as a Perditorian (totally stumped me until i realized that it has zipped right past me in the first book: from the Latin perditus meaning “lost”, Perditorian: one who divines that which is lost) in London. She has gained quite a bit of street smarts this goround and has grown quite adept at juggling disguises. The book is pretty much as enjoyable as the first (which was enjoyable~did i mention that?) A quick, intelligent, entertaining read for early teens (or those of us with that level of intellectual ability.)

Thursday, May 01, 2008

it's about time for a Beltane celebration (and where are those May flowers?)

Maybe because it comes in May, perhaps something about the name, it could be that it signals the "springing up" of flowers (and i do love certain flowers~wild flowers~[believe it or not this sarcastic librarian not only appreciates certain beauty in nature but also gets extremely sentimental at times~just between you and me] especially forget-me-nots, my favorite, the flower {sometimes mentioned as my birth-flower and the flower i wanted as my centerpiece/theme if ever i should marry}~the color {the color of sky, the color of air} i would love my dress to be...). But anyway give May Eve (sounds so much better than "May Day" for us night owls) a chance to let go of worries (and that ever-present head pain) and be happy that you are alive in the beautiful world.
Today is Beltane (and Mayday was my grandmother's birthday so i always remember what a great woman she was on this day~a family of May Taureans somehow we turned out~me, my father, his mother...)
Second of the two most important “high holidays” or “great sabbats,” this festival celebrates the marriage of the Goddess and the God. This pagan holiday centers on flowers, Maypoles, and greenwood frivolity. This date stays the same each year.
Note: Some pagans celebrate Beltane “Old Style” when the sun has reached fifteen degrees Taurus (4 May 2008; this date varies each year).
Also known as May Eve, May Day, and Walpurgis Night, happens at the beginning of May. It celebrates the height of Spring and the flowering of life. The Goddess manifests as the May Queen and Flora. The God emerges as the May King and Jack in the Green. The danced Maypole represents Their unity, with the pole itself being the God and the ribbons that encompass it, the Goddess. Colors are the Rainbow spectrum. Beltane is a festival of flowers, fertility, sensuality, and delight. Prepare a May basket by filling it with flowers and goodwill and then give it to someone in need of healing and caring, such as a shut-in or elderly friend. Form a wreath of freshly picked flowers, wear it in your hair, and feel yourself radiating joy and beauty. Dress in bright colors. Dance the Maypole and feel yourself balancing the Divine Female and Male within. On May Eve, bless your garden in the old way by making love with your lover in it. Make a wish as you jump a bonfire or candle flame for good luck. Welcome in the May at dawn with singing and dancing.
go romp in the meadow amongst the flowers and celebrate life...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"You can be lonlier in the wrong relationship than you can ever be when you are single."

Once again i find myself in the midst of reading a book and wondering exactly what continent the author is living on (in this case Imogen Lloyd Webber~yes, she is the daughter of Sir Andrew~is in London~something i guessed from her language~though she could have just been displaying her anglophile airs like me and Madonna)~i guess i should start reading those back inside flaps before embarking on my reading tasks (or at least paying more attention when i do). The Single Girl’s Survival Guide: secrets for today’s savy and independent woman is one of those books that i bought for my library (even though it didn’t necessarily fit my collection development plan) because nobody else in the system seemed to be picking it up and Brodart listed it as being in high demand (besides which it looked like something, in my silly, thinking i am still a young foolish girlish, girl, phase i would want to read myself~bad, bad librarian, i).

Anyway now that it is in there are quite a few people who have put it on hold so i feel somewhat vindicated. . . The book itself is somewhat silly and suggests we single gals have more money than we often do (especially the slightly younger Bridget Jones type set i’m suspecting the book is aimed at~Lloyd Webber doesn’t even use the word singleton~which might be considered passé now~see how out-of-it i am) i do suppose Miss Imogen is not quite as strapped as many of us might be. The book is rather amusing (especially its A Single Girl’s Survival Glossary including such terms as ALL TEXT NO TROUSERS, BIG DUVET, BUNBURY, EXplotation, NFI, RETROSEXUAL, SOCIAL HAND GRENADE (i have a few of those in my past) and SQUEAKY. Other than the amusement to be found (and it is almost worth reading for that) much of the advise is rather basic (tho perhaps the young-just-embarking-on-life might find it more useful than i) and some of it is quite useful. Worth a glance but not much more…

Sunday, April 13, 2008

"if Oprah told you to jump off a cliff...

would you do it?"
would have made a great teenager's retort to the traditional parental sarcasm about peer pressure.
Now Oprah has joined with the ASPCA to take on puppy mills (an admittedly worthwhile cause~and one which would do some good from having so influential a voice speaking out against it).
My only question is: where was this worthy cause the last time she bought two pups (an event she also devoted one of her shows to) she choose to get them from an obvious puppy mill (and a breeder who had previously been cited).
Oprah definitely has the money to purchase purebred puppies if she so chooses (and i'm not going to go so far as to rant against the practice of breeding {i'm not entirely against it~tho i think people who purchase from [reputable only] breeders should also contribute to animal welfare groups~or just adopt a purebred from a rescue group} when their are so many unwanted, lovable, adoptable animals out there) but if she chooses to be hypocritical she could at least do so a little more privately...)
As for me, two of my current cats were adopted from shelters (Demetra with semi-special needs) and even though i found Katushka at the library i feel like i rescued her from the more than mischievous boys who were looking for the source of the mewing. I'm also not against the registration of cats (just like dogs are registered).
(at least Oprah has now vowed to adopt all her future dogs...)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

" a girl, about to descend a snowy slope, I seemed to hear advice: Hold on tight, Marie. It seemed to come from the mountains themselves,

or from the future.”

In my continuing quest to learn about all things Marie Antoinette i picked up Abundance: a novel of Marie Antoinette, a rather richly detailed 545 page book by Sena Jeter Naslund. Naslund writes with a very obvious sympathy towards Marie Antoinette and at times it was hard to believe M.A.’s absolute goodness (even tho she did come across as quite shallow~perhaps more interested in politics and learning than i had previously thought~yet she still loathes reading.) Most of the story is told in M.A.’s own voice, but it also includes letters exchanged between M.A. and her mother (Maria Theresa, Royal Empress of Austria) and between M.A. and her brother, Joseph II (these letters were apparent constructed from the historical record). Nalund seems to have most of her details quite close to the truth (from whatever i know on the subject, and haven’t we already established that that isn’t much?~but her reliance on resources contemporary to the time seem to bear the assumption out~tho Naslund does blame the infamous “let them eat cake” line on the wife of Louis XIV when the line is probably entirely apocryphal and not attributable to anyone, in addition to not having the traditional meaning) but both a little more embellishment and a little less depth of detail might have helped (i’m not sure the length of the book was entirely warranted~Naslund turns phrases well enough that just as much could be said with less).

Perhaps captive animals do not see beyond the grilles of their menageries.”

M.A. led a sheltered life and she was raised to expect the privileges she received (she did try to make reforms to simplify things in court but she shows a real lack of understanding of how things really are for the peasantry and how her extravagances effect them or how truly ineffective her attempted efforts at helping that peasantry are~tho listening to her mother a tad more might have behooved her, i’m not sure it would have saved her...) She is truly surprised and confused by when the tide of public opinion turns against her but Naslund has her bear it rather gracefully, she believes her duty is to the people of France (as well as her children) even if she has little idea how to serve those needs. I felt it was quite a realistic portrayal of someone of her class, her age, living in the times that she did.

I find my mind has become a dense, opaque cloud of confusion. And what has become of the part of me that I mean when I say “I”? I am lost in a fog, I have little sense of who I am. But I know I am not what they imply.”

How can I play my role—that is to say—how can one maintain her identity, without the proper costume?”

Even though it wasn’t a terribly tedious read, it did get somewhat repetitive in some places and i didn’t feel like i needed to hear quite so much of the minute goings on of almost everyday of her life (or so it sometimes felt). I finally lost my sense of trudging along (the novel did just enough to keep me interested) once M.A. was imprisoned and began her inevitable path toward the guillotine. I was definitely sad to see her go but i don’t believe i would have enjoyed life in the eighteenth century French court~just a bit of a bore~no matter how opulent and decadent it may have been…

Thursday, March 27, 2008

why won't those damn librarians just retire already?

Of late there has been a bit of a firestorm brewing on publib about how old librarians won’t retire to make room for the new.

here’s the email that started it off:

Just to chime in here...

There have been quite a few postings for jobs here in Michigan, some requiring to no experience, but I have yet to get my degree so they won't interview me at all.

From what I read, I got the impression that this "librarian shortage" or "job increase" was not due to demand, but to the retirement of a lot of librarians. At least here where I am, a lot of librarians are very old and ready to retire, even the University ones. The new
reference librarian at MSU just graduated last year, so they want to hire new people. Especially with the old librarians and technology? Oh God, do they want new people!

The universities are having the students teach old librarians up here.

I agree with the economy issue. The failing economy, the recession, social security and all that, are making retirees nervous. I'm thinking that the reason we aren't seeing jobs as much, is due to a lot of people working longer than they should because they're worried they won't have enough money. At least, that's what's I'm hearing from the older

This problem could go away soon, could not. I'm considering a possible overseas move, librarians are in demand elsewhere in the world... drastic though it be.

yes, it is a bit incendiary, and it really makes you wonder what is considered old. I thought a couple of things:

  • First of all the poster hasn’t even started looking for a job yet, are things really as dire as she believes (i got my first job, my first interview, directly out of grad school, in the city i was living~and I know it all depends on the time you are looking but my system still has openings…)?

  • Perhaps she has unrealistic expectations of income in this profession (i remember when i was applying to grad school and discovered the little bit of info that librarianship is the lowest paying profession for the level of education it requires~a choice you make when you are deciding what to do with your life~money ratio to job satisfaction desire)

  • Perhaps a different career, one that pays more and has more perceived opportunity is in order here (but perhaps attitude is a factor?)

  • Why should someone be forced into retirement simply because they are of a certain age, especially if they still enjoy what they do?

  • Librarianship is a second career for many people (maybe because they need the income?) so the average age at entry is older to begin with...

  • Sure some older librarians are not up on the new technology (just as many younger ones aren’t) but many are (and many of them are more adaptable than the rest of us having gone through many drastic changes in the profession in the working life~not to mention that this is one profession to quickly take on the new technology) .

  • It is true that people are not making enough money to save enough, should we force them to live on less than they can simply to make room for the younger whipper-snappers?

  • Some of us (even not so old) librarians have extreme medical costs (or other life-circumstances) which require us to retain that job for the health insurance.

  • Will she feel the same when she comes of age and somewhat younger, stronger, leaner, more learned, more sure of her own abilities wants her job (and your perception of age does change relative to your own age)?

  • There is something to be said for experience!

These are all my own assumptions and presumptions of course...

Friday, March 21, 2008

Lady Day

This “low holiday” or “lesser sabbat” falls on the Spring (or Vernal) Equinox (tho it may not feel much like spring with this weather...), when day and night are equal. The Great Mother Goddess, who returned to her Virgin aspect at Candlemas, welcomes the young Sun God’s embraces and conceives a child to be born in 9 months at the next Winter Solstice. This date varies each year.
Note: Some pagans refer to this sabbat as “Ostara” or “Eostara,” which is historically incorrect. The festival of the Goddess “Eostar,” whose symbols are the egg (sound familiar?) and the hare, is separate and is best celebrated on the vernal full moon or esbat.
Ostara is the Sabbat associated with Spring and is the time of the year when there is an equal balance of light and dark, 12 hours of darkness and 12 hours of light. This is an important time to embrace a point of balance in your own life, where everything is in harmony for a brief time before summer is upon us...
so if you are not celebrating Easter this year (or you want a reason for sharing that Easter dinner with your traditional family) sweet Ostara...

Sunday, March 09, 2008

"Marie-Antoinette was the victim of idealogical inflation systemitically fueled by the pamphlets and the press."

and "Even when thrown by the handful at their targets, the pamphlets failed to rattle the good humor of the queen--thanks, perhaps, to her complete lack of curiosity about the written word. Reading, an immobile an immobile activity demanding sustained concentration, bored her."
Yeah, reading kinda does suck (or so i've been told)
So a short while ago i watched Marie Antoinette (rather enjoyable flick) and became interested in the life of the queen. After devouring what i could find on the internet and biographical databases i went in search of actual books. The only thing that wasn't a children's book my library system seemed to possess was The Wicked Queen: the origins of the myth of Marie-Antoinette by Chantal Thomas, a title i think i picked up once before, started perusing, then returned. This time i struggled my way through (don't get me wrong, it was interesting, if somewhat dense~don't know if any of this was due to the translator, Julie Rose, but i do think this is a tome written for academia more than anyone else).
I perhaps should have noticed that the call number was not one for biographies, though a quick perusal of even the book flap would reveal that it is a study of how the contemporary propaganda pamphlets and tracts not only turned the French people against the foreign queen, but were mostly untrue. I would have benefit ted from a more thorough grounding in the details of Marie-Antoinette's life (there is a brief chronology). And a glance at the back of the book to reveal that the names of everyone i was having such a hard time keeping straight were glossed there might have helped (i am forever making too-late discoveries such as these...) Apparently people were as obsessed with the sex-lives of royalty (the celebrities of the day) then as they are now (not too surprising) and there is quite a bit of vulgarity to be found here.
Perhaps of interest to students of eighteenth-century aristocracy, historical scandal sheets, or the French Revolution. I will continue my quest for biographical details and i might enjoy this one more after a few more facts under my belt (though i did read the entire thing in just a few days...)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

in the waiting room, or (to quote Elizabeth Grymeston) "I resolve to break the barren soil of my fruitless brain."

so here i am, waiting them to set up the ultrasound machine after my follow-up mammogram came back with wonky, mysterious results (the whole medical mystery thing is something that has been going on all my life and i often wonder if there is more to this whole adoption thing than my parents were ever let in on... or were they?)
The whole results waiting thing is getting a little tedious...
a few thoughts on my waiting room reading...
  • an article about a woman who has chosen to live with the man she loves for the rest of their lives but does not wish to marry (for what is a legal/religious commitment anyway~they don't feel it's necessary). Although i've had a few live-in situations in my life i've come to the conclusion in my old age that, unless there is some legal (such as same-sex commitment~which should be legalized) or financial reason (sometimes senior citizens are better off without marriage) preventing a legal union you really should get married (especially if you have children). This isn't necessarily a moral opinion, but i believe that it makes everything much more tidy in terms of finances, insurance, life decisions, and even, gods forbid, the dissolution of the relationship. Even if a commitment between the two of you is enough, why is marriage so distasteful (and how cranky am i getting???)?
  • obama vs. hilary (convinced of his own fitness for office~he is quite audacious, is he not?) and i suppose he must be so convinced to go up against hil's "experience". I am waffling about which of these two i want to elect (i just want a democrat in there for a change!)
    "Tragedy, in the Shakespearean form that Weisberg seems to cite (although there is nothing tragic about Henry V either), requires self-awareness and at least some level of greatness squandered. The Bush whom Weisberg skillfully and largely convincingly portrays is a man who has rarely reflected, who has almost never looked back, and who has constructed a self-image of strength, courage and boldness that has little basis in the reality of his life. He is driven less by bold vision than by a desire to get elected (and settle scores), less by real strength than by unfocused ambition, and less by courage than by an almost passive acquiescence in disastrous plans that the people he empowered pursued in his name."
    Alan Brinkley's review of The Bush Tragedy by Jacob Weisberg in The New York Times Book Review, March 2, 2008
  • and then there is my ever frequent meditation on and frustration with idiots on the road (i have mentioned my hatred of driving here before {and what is it about traveling to medical appointments that makes it all so much worse?}). But i must say my very biggest pet peeve of all (beyond the sheer stupidity of nearly everyone on the road but me) is honking horns (i once had a friend ticketed by a police officer for excessive use of his horn~he honked at someone at a stoplight and the officer told him the horn is only to be used in cases of severe emergency {tho i must admit, when someone doesn't notice the light has changed after longer, than say, 45 seconds, that does seem like rather an emergent situation...) But i feel almost the same way about horns, nothing will more quickly make me want to doggedly prevent you from reaching your destination than if you honk your horn at me (talk about road rage). I don't often follow through on that impulse (at least not for long). At least i'm not hypocritical about this, it seldom even occurs to me to honk my horn at someone, unless i see my eminent death looming closeby...

"Maybe when your real life becomes the terror, there's just nothing left to dream about."

In Taken Edward Bloor imagines the year 2036 as one with severe class divisions (an outgrowth of divisions which are already dangerously increasing.) Thirteen-year-old Charity Meyers is a Floridian daughter of privilege who lives in the Highlands, one of many gated communities, escorted to and from satschool (a school where lessons are beamed by satellite from an elite Manhattan academy) a heavily-armed butler, Albert (who along with her family's live-in "french maid" Victoria are part of the RDS~Royal Domestic Service~the "largest and most prestigious company in the service industry.) Their very names are regulated by the RDS.
Kidnapping has become a "major growth industry" in this society of the future and, as such, the rich kids are trained to deal with the stress of the situation as well as follow the "protocol", the ransom is to be arranged within twenty-four hours and the child returned safe and sound. On New Year's Day 2036 Charity is kidnapped and thus begins her twenty-four hour countdown. The pace of the book keeps the reader enthralled as the hours are counted down and Charity's story is told in both present-tense and flashback. The details of the society she lives in are often relayed from details she has written about in various term papers.
Charity's father is a dermatologist who amassed his fortune by developing a skin bronzing treatment (ironically, her mother died of skin cancer) and his wealth has survived the "world credit crash". Her stepmother, Micki, is a self-centered "vidqueen" who makes documentaries and with Micki and her father in the midst of a divorce Charity spends much of her time with Victoria and Albert. With many twists and turns and Charity's growing sense of social awareness, Taken is a fast-past, thrilling read.

Monday, March 03, 2008

"Innocence is a curable disease, you know."

another rewriting of Shakespeare; another feminist interpretation; another Lisa Fiedler young adult novel (even though i wasn’t excessively thrilled with the last); i guess i just can’t resist…

Romeo’s Ex: Rosaline’s story takes a rather minor character from Romeo and Juliet (though she is the catalyst for the meeting of the couple that many consider the most romantic of all time~just in case you need a refresher, Rosaline was the character Romeo was mooning over at the beginning of the play and drove him to sneak into the Capulet’s party where he instantly fell in love with Juliet). In Fiedler’s take, Rosaline is Juliet’s cousin (a not entirely unbelievable premise given that the drama’s character has some relation to the Capulets [else why would she be at the party?]). Rosaline is also an apprentice healer (seemingly to be a common theme with Fiedler~tho Rosaline has ambitions to study medicine at an academy), which provides her an opportunity to meet Romeo in the first place (and he to become enamored of her).

Rosaline’s story really is the main focus of this novel while Romeo and Juliet’s is told as more of a subplot (and as a contrast to the true love that develops between Rosaline and Benvolio {both originally skeptical of love and all things related), who saves her life during the play’s initial Montague/Capulet brawl~tho she originally mistakes her savior for Mercutio). Rosaline’s yearning for the bad-boyedness of Mercutio is in direct conflict with her growing affinity with Benvolio. Mercutio wishes to make a conquest of Rosaline (as is his wont) and it makes for a somewhat involving (if entirely predictable) story.

I found this book to be rather more enjoyable (still somewhat fluffy tho) than Dating Hamlet (perhaps the experience of a freshman novel matured Fiedler…) (but i did find the trivialization of Romeo and Juliet’s love somewhat annoying~even though i once wrote a term paper for my Theatre History class about how their relationship was one more of adolescent attraction than true love~much the same concept, but it was my concept; therefore all that much better!). This novel was much truer to the original play (perhaps easier to do when using more minor characters). But one does wonder at the eventual “collapse” of the all independent, feminist women in these type of books, when love conquers all…oh well (some of us are so happily single we just can’t understand…

Sunday, March 02, 2008

"Sometimes, we lose sight of ourselves when we're not paying enough attention."

When Sandy Shortt is ten years old her classmate Jenny-May Butler disappears, and the very public search garners a great deal of attention for her small Irish town. Though Jenny-May lived across the street from Sandy she was more antagonist than friend but her mysterious disappearance obsesses Sandy. From that day on she finds herself preoccupied with finding all things that go missing (those single socks in the dryer, that , sweater you wore one time, the stray notebook, even something as trivial as a paper clip). Sandy looks for all lost things and grows more isolated from the rest of life.

I found myself relating to the description of Sandy’s obsession for “missing” those things lost (though i think i believe i might lose the meaning and the memory they held for me while Sandy just wants to understand where they go, how they go~but reading this reminded me of so many things i could never find~the anklet i lost and never found in my first boyfriend’s bed, the ring i lost the night i spent guarding the Greek theatre with my current crush~all the watches that disappeared in my apartment on Catherine Street {and it never occurred to the me who likes to think myself cynical that some things disappeared into roommates hands~until now~almost fifteen years later} perhaps loosing things attatches even more meaning and memory to them than keeping them ever would…)

Though i have a bit of the OCD myself, Sandy takes it to rather dysfunctional levels. Her obsession with searching continues into adulthood when she becomes an agent for the Gardá Síochána (the Irish National Police Service~i get the Scotland Yard impression here), and later a Missing Persons investigator on her own. Cecelia Ahern delivers her story in There’s No Place Like Here in delectable pieces, she made me want to read more of her work (and i was rather surprised to discover she wrote P.S., I Love You.)

Sandy stumbles into a land of the lost and is at first somewhat elated to find all things that have ever gone missing. But as details of her life and those of Jack Ruttle (the man who had hired Sandy to find his brother just before she disappeared) are slowly unveiled she begins to “miss” the not only the life that she left behind (and had isolated herself from) but the chances she had never given herself. She finds herself longing to return to her life (and the life she might have if she tries…)

This book is going onto my favorites list (at least for the moment…)

Friday, February 29, 2008

"Cursing, threatening, perhaps violent librarians."

"It was a concept that they could not get their minds around. Their whole world fell to pieces and not one of the subjects they took at school gave them a clue about putting it back together. Had they Googled it, it still wouldn't have helped them"

sounds somewhat more interesting than it actually is…

(i, at least, have managed to bite my tongue before the curse words actually emerge, or at least muttered them under my breath)

Free for All: oddballs, geeks, and gangstas in the public library is a book that i saw somewhere and thought would be somewhat entertaining (i, like many others like me, snap up those tales of libraries and bookstores for the camaraderie, relatability, or something like that.) Dan Borchert

“was a short-order cook, door-to-door salesman, telemarketer (did a bit of that myself back in the day...), and Christmas-tree-chopper before landing work in a California library. He never could have predicted his encounters with the colorful kooks, bullies, and tricksters who fill the pages of this hilarious memoir.”

(Some note should be made here that Borchert isn’t a MLS degreed librarian~nor did he ever call himself one in the book~apparently there has been some not-mild controversy surrounding this because in his marketing or publicity interviews or some such, he has been called a librarian; and of course many librarians, having worked hard and paid much for that grad school degree, resent people taking the title librarian unjustly~let me just say here, that, tho i am among those~to a certain extent~who cling to that title so proudly and possessively, i’m not sure if this is his mistake or those marketing him and i’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and much of the public is unawares so that can’t really be blamed [to a certain extent~i believe it is at least partly our job to educate the public…] {and we have a librarian assistant at my library without whom i would be lost~but she's still not a librarian~perhaps Borchert's system should make a clearer delineation between tasks that various job functions perform than they currently seem to~because his book makes it appear a little haphazard...and maybe it is...})

Having got that out of the way, Free for All was quite a bit less than i wanted it to be. As many other librarians have said i have much more humorous (and more frightening) tales to tell (though a few of his were unique in some respects~i'm sure every librarian has at least a few of those...) And is this really an urban Los Angeles library~it sounds a bit more like a smaller town~or is that just my cynical jaded self? I must say i was not overly impressed with Borchert’s writing ability either (nor his seeming equation with the way things are done at his library, in his system with the way things are done in all systems~such as who does what and way as well as the way his bureaucracy function.) I’m not a big fan of the book's organizational scheme either. It wasn’t a complete waste of time, though, and there were some amusing moments. Perhaps this would actually be of more interest to those who do not work in libraries to discover that all is not quiet in the library or that we do not "just sit around and read all day, perhaps for me it is more like a “busman’s holiday”.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

what do we need librarians for anyway?

not that i’m asking, of course, (that would be a little self destructive, don’t you think?) but a number of people do some to wonder such a thing, especially as budgets are crunched and administrators begin to investigate where they can cut costs…

The latest kafuffle concerns the elimination of the "librarian 1" positions in the Marathon County Public Library. One of the four positions is currently vacant and the others will be collapsed into three customer service/librarian positions which the current librarians will be offered (at $10,000 less per year) or they can apply for a lead customer service/librarian position (along with everyone else) that job pays what they currently make. I suppose this is a much better deal than many people are getting in this time of recession and unemployment, but i find the reasoning for the cuts a bit off: that libraries are becoming more like community centers (not necessarily a bad thing, but they are still libraries) and that their demands are for less complex, detailed work; mainly simple customer service and computer assistance. I have said before and shall repeat myself here that the public has a hard time differentiating between those who simply work in a library and librarians. They don’t really understand what librarians do or that they really need them (coincidentally enough, i just had two gentlemen ask me questions {one for a book one for computer searching [paid database~not internet} which required research only a librarian could perform...). Just because times are changing (and we must change with them, there are new expertise's to be learned but at the same time we must exercise the old~and remind people why they need us). As librarians we do a poor job of self-promotion and if we are to retain our jobs we need to do better…

Here’s John Berry’s opinion from March’s Library Journal:

Blatant Berry: The Vanishing Librarians

It looks like the “transformation” we seek for libraries and librarianship may turn out to be more of a “deskilling” of library jobs than an enhancement of the profession. More and more working librarians are “managed” by a new breed of library leader. Their model for the new public library is that dehumanized supermarket or the chaotic disorganization of the largest Barnes & Noble.

As this process unfolds, the once professional responsibilities of librarians are being dumbed down into the duties of retail clerks or the robotic responses of machines. Our circulation desks are disappearing. The humans who once greeted and discussed with patrons our wares and services as they dispensed them are being replaced by self-service. Those circulation clerks are either being terminated or sent to work elsewhere in the library.

Our reference services and the desk from which they were delivered are gone, too, replaced by wandering “librarians,” with or without an MLS. They are supposed to be proactive in searching out patrons in need but are too often summoned on walkie-talkies or terminals to come to the aid of only those who ask or to respond to the few inquiries that arrive online. Of course, we need fewer and fewer of these librarians, because patrons are urged to do it all for themselves, via Google, PACs, or whatever they discover through our terminals or their own laptops and PCs.

Our catalogers began to disappear with the takeover of that function by OCLC, the nonprofit that aspires to be a corporation in this brave new retail library world. The standardized result of the effort is bypassed by patron and librarian alike, as they turn to the more friendly Amazons, Googles, et al., for the less precise, more watered-down “metadata” that has replaced what used to be cataloging. Apparently, users don’t miss the old catalog, except as a familiar artifact, which is testimony to how low this dumbing down has taken us.

In the new model, that most sacred of our professional duties, the selection of materials to build services and collections, is turned over to either small centralized teams of two or three librarians and clerks, or in extreme cases to an external vendor, usually a library book distributor.

The resulting “destination” libraries resemble the cookie-cutter design of the grocery store, aimed at making sure everyone who comes in goes out with “product” (books, CDs, DVDs, or downloads). What the patron takes is of as little concern to the storekeeper librarian as it is to the supermarket manager. The success of the enterprise is measured in the number of products collected by patrons, now called “customers.” It is no longer measured in the usefulness or impact of the service on the quality of life in the community served.

Many of the American Library Association-accredited LIS programs that once claimed to “educate” the professional librarians who run these libraries have been invaded by faculty from other disciplines, a great many of whom are far more adept at the politics and pedagogy of academic survival than they are at the principled professional practice of librarianship.

Now the progress of this deskilling has come full circle. Having discovered that the manager librarians of these supermarket libraries need fewer and fewer professional librarians to staff their simplified operations, the governing authorities are beginning to decide they don’t need a professional librarian to manage them. Some have been turned over to successful business types from industry, some to lawyers, some to academic administrators or fundraisers, and some to professional financial managers.

The most surprising part is that so few library leaders have raised their voices in alarm or outrage at this erosion of the standards to which libraries once aspired. It is frightening to think that we will stand quietly by and watch as professional librarians disappear from libraries and with them the quality of the services and collections in which we once took such professional pride.

And here’s the ever-entertaining(don't always agree with her, but still love to read her) Annoyed Librarian

Library Jobs that Suck #4

There's an exciting opportunity in Wisconsin for anyone who wants to work in a library with a demoralized staff and a director who likes to demote or drive off librarians.

Wouldn't you just love to apply to be the new Customer Services Lead Librarian at the Marathon County Public Library in lovely Wausau, Wisconsin? I knew you would. Doesn't this sound
like a fantastic job:

"The Marathon County Public Library is seeking a highly qualified individual for the position of Customer Services Lead Librarian. This is a leadership position focusing on constantly improving the customer-library experience throughout the Library system. The ideal candidate advocates for [sic], researches, creates, develops, and executes innovative approaches, services, and products to meet diverse community and diverse customer needs using creativity and entrepreneurial leadership for the
Library’s system. This position works directly with library staff to improve their customer service and responsiveness skills.

"I only had to read through that advertisement once to say, "Wow! This job is HOT!" They're looking for highly qualified people. I'm highly qualified. They want people to service some customers. I'm great at servicing customers. That's how I paid my way through library school! And they have that great long sentence explaining everything the lucky candidate would get to do. The lucky candidate could advocate innovative approaches or execute innovative products, really just anything, as long as its "innovative." And all of us would probably like to work with that persnickety staff to improve their responsiveness skills. That staff must really suck if the library is advertising how unresponsive they are. Someone needs to go in and light a fire under their bottoms! Also, who wouldn't want to work for a library with a mission "to attract customers to discovery and fun through exploration and entertainment." Ooohh, ahhh, discovery and fun through exploration and entertainment! That sure beats this mission: "The Commonwealth requires the education of the people as the safeguard of order and liberty." Because it's fun! And entertaining! And about servicing customers! Yay!!!

And it would also be fun to work in such a well known library. Oh sure, I know plenty of you work in well known libraries such as the New York Public or Widener or something. But how often do you get to opportunity to work in an increasingly nationally recognized public library in a small place in Wisconsin? Not often. But this library is famous, or at least it should be among librarians. See the news stories here, here, and of course here. Perhaps not everyone reads the Wausau Daily Herald (and why would you?), but everyone reads the AL, at least everyone who's reading this right now.

So if you want to work in a "customer service"-oriented job (and from what I hear every librarian should want to do that because that's what we're all about!), then go ahead and apply to the

Marathon County Public Library. There you can work in an "innovative" environment where the director demotes librarians and cuts their pay and where whatever formerly professional staff are left will resent you until they can find other jobs. And when the last of them go, you can hire some even lower-paid and less competent people to take their place. Yay! And you can improve their "responsiveness skills." Yay!

This is like a dream job, isn't it? The deadline is March 24, so hurry up with that application! Tell 'em the AL sent you and your application goes to the top of the pile.

So I suppose that’s my PSA, blah, blah, blah rant for the day… perhaps i’m just feeling a little self-important and want to hang on to my job as well as my salary (tho i still believe in that M.I.L.S.)