Saturday, September 12, 2009

New Storytime Favorites

There was a bit of a kerfuffle on our website yesterday and for about 8 hours it accidentally listed yesterday's 10:30 storytime for today at 10:30. We were hoping that since it was only up there for a short amount of time nobody would have noticed. We were breathing a sigh of relief at 10:29 when nobody had come in asking where the storytime was. They arrived at 10:35. I quickly grabbed 3 books off the new books cart and by the time I got to the family area I was doing an impromptu mini-storytime for 22 kids not including parents! And boy did I pick some winners!

I started with Bears on Chairs by Shirley Parenteau, illustrated by David Walker. Four empty chairs are waiting for bears and one by one they are filled. Then a fifth bear arrives! OH NO! What to do? The art is beautifully soft and evocative. I wanted to snuggle each of the bears (especially the floppy one), and the rhyming text was fun to read. A definite thumbs up.

Can You Make a Scary Face? by Jan Thomas was my ace in the hole. Truth be told it wasn't on the new books cart anymore, it was in sitting in the back on my desk. I had just checked it out to bring it home for my girls, but sometimes a librarian has to share the wealth! Anytime Jan Thomas does something it's bound to be brilliant. Scary Face engaged the kids and has them standing up, sitting down, wiggling around and in general interacting with the book. I know, I know, I'm a sucker for a good fourth-wall breaking book, but this one is at the top of it's class for this kind of thing!

I ended with All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon and Marla Frazee. In retrospect I would never make the transition from Scary Face to All the World. It's a fabulous book but a complete change of pace. It's much easier to go from quiet to boisterous than to go the other way around. That said, I can't wait to use All the World in a storytime! It is a beautiful meditation on a group of people (family? friends? aquaintences? It doesn't exactly say) in a town living their day. The text is short, rhyming, and fun. The art is beautiful (as would be expected from Marla Frazee) and detailed. The text could be talking about anyone, but the details in the art make it special. One family consists of a mother and her brand new baby. She looks like she's studying for school (but she may be just doing her taxes) as the day draws to a close. Another family is a blond, pale mother, a darker father with wild hair, and a boy and a girl who spend the day digging at the beach, climbing the best climbing tree I've ever seen, and eating chili with corn bread that makes my mouth water. As I keep flipping through this book I keep finding more details to love: the puppy in the wagon, the ladies on the bicycle built for two, the VW bus! In short, go find this book.

As long as I'm talking about good new storytime books, here's a few more I've just discovered:

I first found out about The Boy who cried Fabulous (by Leslea Newman, illustrated by Peter Ferguson) through I'm here, I'm queer, what the hell do I read?. As you can tell, I get way too enthusiastic about things so I empathized with Roger right away. Roger spends so much time wandering around exclaiming about the fabulous things he sees that he's always late to school and even later coming home. His parents end up banning the word "fabulous" from his vocabulary when they go out one day and he tries not to exclaim over everything until he has an idea and gives us a subtle, fun vocab lesson! What a marvelous, scrumptuous, elegant, book! I just wanted to run around exclaiming about how "the world's too wondrous to ignore" after reading it.

And then there's Laurie Halse Anderson. When The Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher Goes to School (illustrations by Ard Hoyt) came in I knew it would be too old for Kaylee, but I brought it home anyway because I wanted to pour over it a bit more. Kaylee pulled it out of my bag and demanded I read it to her and surprise, surprise she sat through the whole thing then demanded I read it again! This is another book where the writing is wonderful but what kept Kaylee entertained was the details in the art. Where are the gerbils now? What is the hair curled around over there? Look at that! Look at this! That said, you can get away with a lot one on one that you could never get away with in a storytime, and when it's your own child (or a child who is very used to you) you can get away with even more. In a storytime setting I would take Zoe and her wild hair to be read to some first graders. In fact, I was just asked to go to read to some next month and this is the first book I'm deciding to bring for sure.

And with that, my lunch break is over. Have a great day!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

In which the librarian quotes herself

At one of the random online sites I can be found, a friend mentioned how great it was that I'm bookish and am passing that along to my girls because it wasn't something that she had had growing up. I hope y'all don't mind if I quote my response and then just continue typing because I have a lot to say and I felt like I was changing the conversation so I'm taking my ramblings over to my blog (because isn't that what a blog is for?

That was something I never had to worry about. Everyone in my family is bookish - from my grandmother who borrows my mother's Janet Evanovich the moment mom buys the newest (and always returns it by saying "this was far too racy for me. When does the next one come out?") down to my 2 year old who used to ask me to read Foucault to her because it was low enough on the shelf and she could reach it (She didn't care what I read her as long as she got to snuggle close to me and listen to my voice and OH MY GOD THAT IS LOVE, Y'ALL!), but now can't sleep until I've read her her Yo Gabba Gabba book and will then try and con me into reading her Barbie and I kinda want to yell "CHILD I LOVE THAT YOU HAVE AN OPINION NOW, BUT IF I HAVE TO READ BARBIE AND THE DIAMOND CASTLE ONE MORE TIME ..."

But seriously, turning my girls on to books is one of the best things I've ever done. I have always refused to be one of those (IMHO) overly pushy parents who demands that their 2 year old learn to multiply. I want my children to enjoy their childhoods. That said, reading is one of the greatest pleasures that I have and I want to pass that along to them all. Because of the huge amounts of books that my book obsessed daughter now demands I read to her, she knew her colors at 20 months. She could identify every letter in the alphabet not long after that. She can count almost to 30 and has started telling me what sounds some letters make. She knows what sounds animals make and (this is a big one in our house) can tell the difference between Superman, Spiderman, and Thor (which, if you think about it, is pretty hard. They're all red and blue and kinda similar to the untrained eye).

I am so grateful to my parents for loving reading so much and passing that along to us kids. I am so grateful to my grandparents for loving reading so much and passing that along to their kids. I am getting overly sappy and should just hit post before I keep typing.

Friday, August 14, 2009

When you reach me - Rebecca Stead

When You Reach Me
Rebecca Stead
Grade 4 and up
In Stores Now

I have put off blogging about When You Reach Me for far too long. I have to tell you all about this book because it is just SO FANTASTIC, but I have no idea what to say because it is just so fantastic. I'm terrified that someone will read my review, find it lacking, and not pick up this book.

In When You Reach Me, Miranda spends 1979 helping her mother prepare to be on the $20,000 Pyramid, making new friends, mourning the loss of her best friend (who decided out of the blue that he didn't want to hang out with her anymore), and receiving mysterious notes from someone who just might be a time traveler. She obsesses about A Wrinkle in Time, fails to learn how to properly cut bread, and in general rocks.

This is not a book for everyone. You have to be ready to let the book completely absorb you. My coworker listened to it on CD and spent too much time (according to her) wandering in and out of the room and therefore didn't like it. This isn't one of those books. This is a book you have to pay attention to and think about and be patient with. This book draws you in slowly, but once you're hooked you're hooked.

This is a fantasy for people who don't like fantasy, but it is also a gateway to realistic fiction and historical fiction for people who only read fantasy. I'd give it to fans of A Wrinkle in Time, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, or The Wednesday Wars.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Speaking of spoilers ...

Can I just tell you how much I disliked Knowing? It about broke my heart the other day when Meg Cabot of all people blogged about how much she loved it?

(can I reiterate my spoiler alert? Ok - good.)

About halfway through the movie, Brandon says to me, "hey - you know what would be funny? If they don't stop the disaster! If the movie just ends with the world ending!"
I replied "yeah! That would be funny! Worst ending idea EVER!"
and we had a good laugh.

And then they didn't stop the disaster. And the movie just ended with the world ending. And we were all WTF!

So ... just a warning. Don't watch Knowing unless you're ok with the worst ending EVER!

Ash by Malinda Lo

Ok. I have put this off for long enough. I have important things to say*, so I am darn well going to say them! I got an ARC of Ash at ALA a few weeks ago, devoured it immediately, and am just now sitting down to tell you how fantastic it is. Don't hate! I'll regale you with tales of the kidlet's cuteness later in hopes that you will then forgive me.

*important to me, at least. Probably just me.

A word of caution - I will probably allude to how the book ends. I'm really bad about that. For me, though (especially in a book like this that is a retelling of Cinderella so you know somewhat how it turns out) it isn't about where the characters end up. It's how they get there. So read on with this review (and in general, this blog), but know that I am not afraid to let slip details from near the end.

So anyway - if you were going to write a book designed specifically for me it would be this book. Retelling of something from the 398.2s*? Check! Gorgeously seductive but ultimately terrifying faeries? Check! A world that is not heteronormative? Check!

*UGH - YES - I AM THAT NERD! I do think of them as the 398.2s (or sometimes the 398s if I'm feeling lazy) instead of as folk and faerie tales. I'm crazy.

For the most part I don't need to give you a quick summary - it's Cinderella with extra faeries and plus the awesome Huntress. Like I said - I rarely read books for the basic plot structure. my love of a book comes from the details and Ash is full of fantastic ones. The world is a growing and changing world. The old tales of faeries are completely not en vogue anymore, but Ash has grown up in a small town far outside of the capital city that still believes. Tales of the Fae are constantly being told between the characters.

It was in these tales that I began to realize that the world wasn't heteronormative. Do you have any idea how refreshing that is? Through out the tales women fall in love with men and women fall in love with women* and nobody ever says "oh my goodness lookie here that woman just fell in love with another woman and that is SO WEIRD!" When Ash starts to have a crush on the huntress, it seems impossible to her that she should have this crush because of tons of outside influences making it seem crazy (she's not good enough, she's a servant, etc.), but not one of those reasons is ever that to fall for a woman is bad. I love this. I can't tell you how much I love this. I know it's near impossible in realistic fiction for something like this to happen - we just don't live in the sort of world - but in this lush fantasy world that Lo has created, I would like to think that maybe some GLTBIQ teen who picks this up will let him/herself feel like maybe he/she isn't crazy for being the person he/she** is!

*I don't remember any men falling in love with men, but I think that is more because there are so few male characters and less because of any other reason.

**OY! ENGLISH! Can we please get ourselves a third person singular pronoun that is non gender specific for when we're talking about just some random person who could be either? Get on that, will ya?

So ... enough with my random soapboxing about my worldview. You want to know about the book, yes? Well let me tell you I loved it! Again let me remind you that I am a sucker for EXACTLY THIS KIND OF BOOK so I may be a hair biased, but please don't let that stop you from picking this up. It should be in stores September 1 and in your local library pretty soon after.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Kaylee and Pippa are both asleep

Brandon is out with friends. I have the apartment to myself. I could write up my review for Ash! Or When you Reach Me! or The Demon's Lexicon! Or any of a gazillion* books I've read recently ... but then I wouldn't be going to sleep right now, and that would be tragic.

Pippa is just starting to consistently sleep well. I forsee more blogging time in the near future. Watch for it!


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tucking Kaylee in, Singing her to sleep, I ask her what song she wants me to sing next.

Kaylee: Pants song
Me: What's the pants song?
Kaylee: PANTS song!
Me: Can you sing it for me?
Kaylee: No
Me: Can you tell me more about it?
Kaylee (after thinking for a moment): Horsie, Flower, Pants, Snaps, Button. Pants song. KAYLEE pants song.

Monday, July 13, 2009

ALA Chicago 2009

Today was the day my library sent me to The ALA Annual 2009 Conference. Can I say ZOMG? because ... ZOMG!

As anyone who has ever met me will attest, I have a crazy crush on Neil Gaiman. I want to go to lunch with him on occasion, eat sushi, drink tea, and discuss deep and important things. Whatever - I'm a crazy fan girl. I'm ok with it. ANYWAY - Neil Gaiman was going to be at ALA today signing books at 9 am. I live an hour away from the conference, so I figured if I left at 7 am, I would definitely be there before the line is cut off (Neil Gaiman is uber popular and I knew the line would be long). I got lost twice on the way to the conference (even using my GPS) and then ended up parking in the wrong parking lot and didn't get there until 8:55. I was one of the last people in line before they completely cut it off! And then I didn't get to the front of the line until almost noon! Good thing a good friend of mine from library school (who tragically moved to LA to be a kick-bootay YA librarian over there) was standing in line with me to keep me company! I got to detail her my plan for meeting my literary hero which consisted basically of me saying hi, and then us suddenly being best friends.

ANYWAY - I finally got to the front of the line and I handed Neil Gaiman my copy of Blueberry Girl (I would have brought Absolute Sandman, but I did not relish the thought of carrying it around all day! I love Blueberry Girl especially, though, because NG wrote it for his pregnant friend years ago and it was recently illustrated and released as a picture book. It came out while I was pregnant with Pippa, and I brought it to the hospital when I gave birth. Blueberry Girl was the first book I read to her. Nowadays, Kaylee loves it too and has bits of it memorized (but she's not as good at it as she is with "Green Room" - her name for Goodnight Moon). Sometimes when Pippa is chillin' on the couch, Kaylee will climb up there with her and "read" Goodnight Moon or Blueberry Girl to Pippa.

I told this story to my new BFF, and he said, "That may possibly be the cutest thing ever." I completely agree and the proud mama in me wanted to whip out the pictures right there and then, but by that time he'd been singing books nonstop for almost 3 hours and was looking rather haggard. Besties know when not to push it.

So after wandering around the Exhibits for awhile, I went to a panel on Censorship and Graphic Novels. The panel was moderated by a lovely man (who's name escapes me at the moment) from The CBLDF and consisted of Neil Gaiman, Terry Moore, and Craig Thompson. It was fascinating and someday I'm going to try and type up Mr. Thompson's hysterical description of being offended.

Then back to the conference floor where I met E. Lockhart (more on that later, but I'm beyond tired and want to finish this up) and got TONS AND TONS of ARCs. See my haul below? (Note, two of those are not ARCs, and one is an ARC but of a book that is already out? One of my favorites, though, so no complaints here!) The only real tragedy is that people like Abby and Jen snapped up all the Catching Fire before I could get there! SO rude of them, don't you think? (;

And when I got home, my husband had made his amazing chicken mole which always makes my night. Now I'm going to go see if I can con him into a backrub (free books are heavy, yo!) and then fall into bed early.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

I'm halfway through three different reviews, but in the meanwhile I am SO IN LOVE WITH THIS PICTURE and I wanted to share it!

(Kaylee is SO GREAT!)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

WOW - Crazy

Crazy crazy night!

So ... here's what happened:

Kaylee and I were going to run an errand. When I opened the door to the apartment, everything smelled of smoke, and there was a faint beeping noise coming from downstairs. I called my Brandon over to confirm that I wasn't crazy and he walked us downstairs. The beeping was coming from the apartment two floors below us, and smoke was pouring out of the door. Nobody answered when we banged on the door so Brandon called 911 while I pulled the fire alarm and ran upstairs for Pippa.

The fire department here ROCKS! They were here already by the time I was back downstairs, and I ran as fast as I dared! So ... yay for safety! But the being grabbed and then jostled woke Pippa up and she was so surprised that she promptly filled her diaper. Of course I hadn't thought (or had the time) to grab a diaper bag ...

The firemen put the fire out before it spread beyond the apartment it started in, so we're back inside fairly quickly. All's well that ends well, yes?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

I am raising an evangelical minister, apparently.

Kaylee was sitting on my lap just now, and then I put her down saying, “I need to go flip the porkchops, sweetheart. I can smell ‘em, and they need to turn before they burn.”

Now she is marching around the living room changing “turn before they burn.”

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

In which the librarian tried very very hard not to swear delightedly

This is the perfect way to finish BEDA - because it really speaks to the spirit of the event.

So I feel you all need to know that my daughter is a genius. A certifiable genius. I want to add a disclaimer here (because I am neurotic) that I may have put up before. I am not one of those mothers who is completely and utterly anal about how smart my kid is in relation to the rest of the children around. I live and work in an area where parents are sending their children to preschools that promise to have the kidlets multiplying and dividing before kindergarten. I know of parents who get TUTORS for their two year olds. I roll my eyes at this because while I want my daughters to be smart and be the best they can be, there is really no point to it all if they don't enjoy themselves along the way. Life is there to love, not to win! That said: Kaylee is a genius.

My child loves the alphabet. She loves it. From all the Early Literacy information I read to pass on to parents at my storytimes I know that before the age of two it's common for a child to know the alphabet song. At two they often start identifying letters. Late twos often start knowing the sounds that the letters make and early threes might be able to sight read words that they see a lot.

(That is why books like The Monster at the End of This Book are so great! I mean look at this page!

Point to "Monster" as it is being read! Point to "Scared" and all the "Please"es! Kids pick up on this stuff and they learn to recognize the shapes of words!)

ANYWAY (oy with the digressions already! Just tell the story, Susan!) - Kaylee loves the alphabet. She points it out wherever we go. She has those foam letters in the bath and she can identify every one and LOVES to identify every one. I already knew Kaylee was a genius because of that, but yesterday - yesterday takes the cake. We were sitting in front of a chair made by my best friend for Kaylee that has her name on it, and Kaylee pointed to the painted name and said, "KAYLEE!"(Note: This chair had been moved out onto the porch for a few weeks and has just recently been moved back inside - and I know that neither my husband or I have pointed out the name on the chair to her since before it went outside.) I basically died from excitement right there. Then I pointed to the letters one by one and she named them, then I asked her what those letters spelt and she shrugged. Then I asked her what the word was on the chair and again she said "Kaylee!" I asked her how to spell Kaylee and she had no idea ...

So yeah, I know it's "just" sight reading and not real reading, but my daughter - who is not yet two - read her first word yesterday. And I'm going to be insanely proud.

And there ain't nothin' you can do to stop me.

(The Genius en repose being read Goodnight Moon by her father)

Monday, April 27, 2009


First off - a public notice: whoever took my phone charger please give it back! I'm asking for your own good. If my mother finds out who you are and discovers that you are the reason I'm not texting her constant updates ... well, I just don't know what will happen to you! So just slip it somewhere I've already looked twelve times and I won't be upset!

I've been getting a lot of requests for details, so here ya go! Pip was the easiest delivery ever. 3 pushes. Well, 4 - but the first one doesn't really count. Everyone told me that my hour and a half with Kaylee was beyond easy and I was inclined to agree ... and then I had Pip. It totally made up for the two and a half weeks of contractions I had!

I feel wonderful. I feel really really wonderful. I probably shouldn't say that because now people might expect me to do stuff and get things done when I'd rather everyone expect me to take it easy and if something gets done it's a happy addition! Right?

The other request everyone wants is a sisters picture. This has been rather difficult to provide because everytime Kaylee sees the camera she wants to PLAY with it so I have to get these pictures on the sly. This is the best I've managed so far - but it has the added bonus of showing my sister Elizabeth the ringlets I've been bragging to her about!

And with that I go to do something ...

Or not. As the case may be.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

BEDA excuses

Lookie what I made!

Pippa arrived yesterday at 3. She's 7lbs, 2oz, and practically perfect in every way. Her full name is Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Ephraim's Daughter Longstocking. We'd call her Pippi, but that name seemed taken (weird, huh?), so we're going with Pippa!

Monday, April 20, 2009


Based on the small theatrical performance I just witnessed, I had better NEVER run out of cheese. Ever. In my child's whole life. See, I opened the refrigerator to get out the milk so I could pour two glasses and a sippy cup of milk. In my child's head I was opening the PORTAL OF CHEESE thereby reminding her that CHEESE IS AVAILABLE and then I did NOT give her any.

"Cheese? Mommy? Cheese?"

"One minute - I will get you some cheese after I pour this milk."

"Cheese? Mommy? Cheese? Cheese? CHEESE? CHEEEEEESE? CHEEEEEEESE?"

So yes, I don't move as fast as I normally do - and getting two glasses and a silly cup down and then filling them up took MAYBE a whole two minutes, but from the theatrical piece Kaylee put on (which I entitled "have a little patience, child" and she entitled "In which my mother does not give me cheese. And I die. From tragedy. I am dead and that death was caused by tragedy.") you would have thought that I took TWELVE YEARS to give her her beloved cheese.

That said, she is now being the sweetest child ever and asking me to dance with her. Y'all will just have to be patient and I'll give you a real blog post later. Tonight? Tomorrow? You'll never know! I'm keeping you guessing!

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Yes, so this whole "Blog Every Day April" thing hasn't worked so well for me so far, but it has gotten me to be very conscientious about the fact that I don't blog as often as I should. That's something, right? PLUS the whole "I could be having a baby at any moment here" drama just keeps distracting me. BUT my favorite librarian blogger ever just posted her picks for SLJ's battle of the books and I am totally going to copy her.

(BTW - this just goes to show how completely and utterly dense I am sometimes. When SLJ posted the Battle of the Books Brackets I immediately put them up in my small corner of the Children's Services workroom and looked over them and thought "that is awesomely awesome" and made predictions in my head. But share those predictions? That completely didn't occur to me!)

(And also BTW - Abby predicted who she thinks is going to win, sometimes even pointing out that she is predicting the one she likes less. That's a good strategy on her part but I am a SELFISH and SELF CENTERED BLOGGER today, so I am going to write these predictions as if EVERYONE IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD AGREES WITH ME ABOUT EVERYTHING! So therefore the books I like the most will win, right? Lets assume so!)

1) The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation: Volume II vs. Ways to Live Forever judged by Roger Sutton.
I just started the first volume of Octavian Nothing yesterday. It is beyond amazing! I have no idea why I waited this long to start these. And from what I've been told it just gets better. Ways to Live Forever was good. I read it back when it was on the new books shelf. I remember what it was about, but I don't remember any of the specific plot points. Octavian Nothing on the other hand has already given me ample bits that I know will stick in my head for years to come. So while I technically haven't read it, I am still going to declare:

Winner: Octavian Nothing

2) The Graveyard Book vs. The Trouble Begins at 8, judged by Jon Scieszka. (Full Disclosure? I thought I had Scieszka spelt properly, but Google fixed it for me.)
This is another easy one. While The Trouble Begins at 8 is brilliant and funny and well written, very little can beat The Graveyard Book in my head. And if you have a chance to listen to the audio version - DO IT! Some authors should not read their own works aloud. Neil Gaiman should. He's a born storyteller.

Winner: The Graveyard Book

3) Chains vs. Washington at Valley Forge, judged by Elizabeth Partridge.
Wow - three easy ones in a row. I loved loved LOVED Chains. I love pretty much everything Laurie Halse Anderson does. I hadn't even heard of Washington at Valley Forge before the brackets were announced and I haven't gotten around to this title yet. If it somehow beats out Chains I'll read it before making next week's predictions, but I don't see how anything could beat Chains.

Winner: Chains

4) Here Lies Arthur vs. Tender Morsels, judged by Meg Rosoff.
I knew a hard one would come eventually! Two I haven't read yet going up against each other! And they're both fantasy-ish (from the mini descriptions at Indiebound ... ), so I can't just plead a fantasy bias and go with that. BUT I can mention that I got very annoyed with Arthurian rewrites a few years ago and that bias is still in place, PLUS I've always had a thing for books about liminal spaces. I blame one specific college professor for that, but it has stuck! So ... I am going to have a very full week on the reading front, but assuming bambino #2 doesn't show up during it, I am required to spend a lot of time with my feet up, so it shouldn't be a problem for me to promise to read the winner of this bracket as well! Actually - knowing me I'll read them both, but I'm only giving myself a deadline for the one.

Winner: Tender Morsels

5)The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks vs. We Are the Ship, judged by Rachel Cohn.
We Are the Ship is beautiful, well written, and important. It has won tons and tons of awards, and rightfully so! However ... my thesis in college was on Foucault's Theories of the Panopticon and How that Relates to the Female Bildungsroman. (Yes, I pull that out at cocktail parties just to sound pretentious. It is beyond fun.) The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is a Female Bildung (those of us "in the know" about bildungsromans call them "Bildungs" as a nickname. Because we're just that cool), and the main character becomes increasingly obsessed with Foucault's theories of the Panopticon. E LOCKHART, YOU HAVE SOME 'SPLAININ' TO DO! Were you reading my senior thesis? So ... I have to vote for Frankie, because ... well ... I have to.

Winner: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

6) The Hunger Games vs. The Porcupine Year, judged by Ellen Wittlinger.
This one is very similar to Bracket #2 for me. I haven't read The Porcupine Year and while I'm sure it's lovely I can't imagine it beating out The Hunger Games. I'm not sure I can tell you how much I loved THG. And anyone who gets an ARC of Catching Fire will be FOREVER in my debt if they share it with me! /love

Winner: The Hunger Games

7) Graceling vs. The Underneath, judged by Tamora Pierce.
Y'all already know how I feel about The Underneath. BLECH! And I adored Graceling ... so this one is a no brainer.

Winner: Graceling

8) The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary vs. Nation, judged by Ann Brashares.
AUGH! I love The Lincolns. Bit of trivia for you? Candace Flemming kinda wanted to name it Abe and His Babe. Well, she might have been joking when she said that, but it's still pretty awesome. I haven't read Nation yet which is a TRAGEDY because I love Terry Pratchett. I love him with a passion! And knowing him ... knowing how much I love him ... if anything could beat The Lincolns, it'd be Mr. Pratchett. Please don't make me pick?

Winner: a TIE! (:

And with that, I go to curl up with the cutest toddler the world has EVER seen.


Sunday, April 05, 2009


I just made an 8X8 pan of brownies. I then cut it into four pieces. That means that this here 4x4 brownie in front of me is SIXTEEN SQUARE INCHES of brownie. And when I go and get seconds? Yeah - that'll be THIRTY-TWO square inches of brownie. And I won't feel bad about it. Not one little bit.

And yes - I know that I totally failed at BEDA, but I'm not giving up! I have a half finished blog entry for Friday AND a half finished blog entry for Saturday ... and I'll finish them someday, and there will just be this gaping hole in my blog. It's ok - I'm not going to let myself stress. Because. Good reason, huh?

I took some great pictures today, but for some reason I can't get the computer that I am on to admit that my camera is hooked up to it. It will make the "something just connected!" noise when I turn the camera on and the "something just disconnected!" noise when I turn the camera off, but will it actually admit that it is connected? NO! So pretend there are adorable pictures with these stories. That may make things better.

Kaylee and I figer painted this morning. It was a ton of fun! We used my mother's technique of pouring lotion on a plate which the Kins thought was beyond fun. And we used this random horrible smelling lotion that was given to me by a book seller this around the holidays. And dang, this story really isn't that interesting without the pictures. Trust me. They're adorable?

Oh, blech. The whole blog I had planned out hinged upon my pictures. I'll just put off more substantial blogging until tomorrow.

Bye all.


PS - I have become a Nerdfighter! How cool is that?

Thursday, April 02, 2009


There are a ton of reasons I haven't been blogging lately. The main one, though, is this: I AM PREGNANT AND SNARKY! I pride myself on being a happy positive person. I don't quite know what to do with myself when suddenly I'm snarky! It's tragic - it really is.

Y'all - I have DISLIKED BOOKS recently! I know - that is COMPLETELY unlike me! And how can I blog about a book I disliked? That's so mean! Jeremy Tankard found my blog when I talked about how much I loved him ... what if some author googles themselves, finds my blog (THAT WAS WRITTEN WHEN I WAS PREGNANT AND SNARKY), and decides that if one random librarian pirate didn't like their book then they shouldn't try again*. On the other hand, it is completely disingenuous** of me to assume I can write a blog that contains tons of book reviews and NOT discuss the books I don't like. I had a dilemma. I have come upon a solution! I tend to link to other reviews anyway, right? Why not just include a link to a positive review along with my negative snark! That way nobody will decide not to read a book just because some snarky pregnant lady told them it sucked - they can decide based on my snark and someone else's non snark. Good idea, yes? Shush - it's BRILLIANT!

*Oh, the narcissism!
**Fun fact: Disingenuous is possibly my least favorite word EVER! People use it when they want to call someone a no good fake liar pants but they don't want to actually be seen calling someone a no good fake liar pants. Therefore I find the word itself to be disingenuous. Did that stop me from using it here? Nope. You want a blog that doesn't hold itself to a ridiculous double standard? Go read something else!

First up, Gossamer. Fuse Number 8 wrote a beautiful review of Gossamer, and it makes me giggle because it begins "And now a book we can all agree on. The newest L0wry* is out and it's loverly. A class act all around." Oh, Fuse #8 - I almost always agree with you, and the one time I don't you are not expecting it! It's a stealth disagreement! Gossamer is a quiet book about dream creatures and a boy who was abused by his father who is now staying in foster care with this lovely older lady who works to help fix his damaged soul.

*did you see what I did there? No? That's because I'm SNEAKY!

I think part of my problem with Gossamer is that I listened to the audiobook. I don't tend to like soft, quiet, smart books on audio. They always seem beyond pretentious when I hear someone reading the words and obviously thinking the words are some of the most brilliant things they've read in awhile. Also, the snarky side of me was getting very annoyed at the trend in children's books for the problem child to be a problem for a reason and that reason is usually his/her home life. AND the child is always fixable (Side note: I am an optimist. When I'm not PREGNANT AND SNARKY I do think that everyone is basically good and I certainly don't want to ever tell my children that someone is just a bad person and there is nothing they can do to fix that ... but right now I am PREGNANT AND SNARKY so I will let my feelings flow!). I think my biggest problem with this is that it is almost always the parent's fault. In this book it was extreme abuse, but in general I get annoyed with people's tendency to think that a child is only acting out because they don't get enough attention at home or the parents don't care or whatnot. I have so many friends who have children somewhere in the autism spectrum who are the best parents ever but whose children "act out" (oh look! CNN even has an article about that exact thing today!). AND as I've mentioned time and time again - I am NEUROTIC. Books like this make me feel like when Kaylee (sweetest baby ever that she is) decides completely randomly in the middle of the store that she wants me to let her hold THAT GLASS JAR OF JELLY RIGHT NOW (which: no, Kaylee. You want to hold this plastic jar of salad dressing? Fine. You want to cuddle up with the ice cream? Well - you're crazy, but ok. When you get bored with either of those and drop them on the floor they will not break. The glass jar will. Let us sing a rousing chorus of Row row row your twinkle twinkle instead) and will scream and scream, I feel like everyone I walk by is thinking, "what a horrible mother. She obviously neglects her child and that is why her child is screaming and screaming and screaming."

SEE? This is why I haven't been blogging. What was meant to be a brief "I was not such a fan of this book" description has turned into a "I AM NEUROTIC AND EVERYONE JUDGES MY PARENTING ABILITIES" rant. Anybody want to count up the times I have used the word "pregnant" alongside the word "snarky" so far? Yeah, me neither.

Another book I disliked was The Underneath. I actually read this one ages and ages ago - before this book won a Newbery Honor. It was perhaps my biggest surprise of the award season because my dislike for this book was SO huge. I read it because Abby the Librarian (who I love and idolize and pretty much always agree with) loved this book. I'm sorry, Abby - you're wonderful and brilliant but SO WRONG on this book! Again, this may have been worse because I was listening to the audiobook and "smart" audiobooks just don't jive for me. The prose in this book is lyrical and "beautiful" and DOES NOT STOP! Let me demonstrate (note: I am not actually quoting the book, but I am barely exagerating ... well, maybe a little at the end):

This tree. This big tree. This enormous tree. This tree that can reach the sky with its branches. This tree that is home to so many animals. This tree that reaches up with its branches and down with its roots. This old tree. This ancient tree. This tree that has stood on this spot for many many years. This tree that has seen the animals live. This tree that has seen the animals die. This tree that remembers back to the days of yore. This ancient tree that whispers on the wind. This tree of life and love. This tree will be chronicled until I run out of words to use to explain this tree. This tree that you will hear about until my keyboard fails on the letter E. This tree? This is the one I'm talking about.


I could go on ... and on and on, but how about if I mention one book that I've loved recently? I'm about halfway through the first Septimus Heap book and I love it. My only complaint is the name: (this may be a spoiler - don't read on if you don't want to hear my surmise) On the first page, we are told that Septimus Heap is dead - has died pretty much right at birth. I think we are then meant to forget him - his death just made it very convenient for Jenna to join the Heap family! But they named the book Septimus Heap! So while I am halfway through the book and Septimus Heap is still presumed dead, I am fairly certain that he is not in fact dead, I am fairly certain he has been reintroduced as another character, and I am pretty sure I know who he is.

That said, I love it. I absolutely love it.

More, less snarky, book reviews to come. I promise! Maureen Johnson is the reason I am blogging every day, so I really should talk about how great her books are, right? Well stay tuned! Or not. Whichever.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


So I have been very motivated by Maureen Johnson to get off my behind and actually type up some of the millions of things bouncing around in my head. I had such great intentions for starting April off with a bang - I have a ton of things to blog about. Seriously. Just you wait.

SO - Today I worked, went to the doctor, went back to work, stayed at work late because of the doctor's appointment, picked up Kaylee at daycare, made a fantastic dinner, ate my fantastic dinner, ate seconds, ate thirds, ate even more while watching my husband trying desperately to fix Comcast in time for Lost, cheered him on when he prevailed, watched Lost (OH MAH GOODNESS!), put Kaylee to bed too late, sang her more songs/read her more books than usual because she was cranky going to bed late and I prefer sending her to happy sleep instead of sad sleep, made my husband a fantastic desert, puttered about, puttered about, puttered about, and THEN decided to sit down and blog.

(yes, I made that sentence AS LONG AS POSSIBLE!)

But I am le pregnant and therefore I am le lazy so I decided to implement operation, "I own a laptop! I should blog FROM BED!" Brilliant operation, right? Except the only outlet in the bedroom is hidden behind the headboard and somewhat impossible to get at ... and also kinda full. AND the laptop is kinda out of battery. So the laptop is charging right now and I am typing on the desktop in a tragically upright position. That is why my first post of BEDA09 is going to be tragically short. Because I am le lazy. Well, truth be told, my doctor is worried about me and I've convinced her that I can still work only by promising to spend as much time as possible lying down. And as you can tell - my day today has been full of many things, and lying down has hardly been one of them. Well - while dinner was cooking, we played Kaylee's FAVORITE GAME (and I whole heartedly encourage this) called "Mommy lies on the floor and I tuck her in." It's adorable - she covers me with her blanket, then grabs a stuffed animal for me and hands it to me. Then she hands me her sippy cup. Then she looks around for other things I might need while taking a nap. "Crackers!" "Diaper!" "Shoe!" "Colors!" (That's what she calls her crayons) Eventually I convince her to sit and read me a story or sing me a song. Can you SEE why this is my favorite game? It is A) ADORABLE and B) lets me lie in one spot while getting quality baby playing time .. AND eventually she reads to me. I am a fan.

So ... better BEDA09 tomorrow when my laptop is charged? Don't mind if I do. And people who I owe emails to? Totally coming! I promise! I am such a bad friend. But for now - I lie down.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Reports of my death have been greatly exagerated

So ... from phone calls and emails and texts and other things that I have gotten, I get the feeling that my mother sent out the call yesterday that "Oh my goodness the librarian who is also a pirate is dying or very sick or having her baby RIGHT NOW or something ... I don't know! I'm just worried! Be worried too!" This is totally not her fault - when I was in the hospital I was texting her and my sister and my husband and my other sister (who has helped me pick out a name for baby girl #2! The husband doesn't like it, but who wouldn't want a child named Sparkly Unicorn! He'll come around.) and sometimes I forgot who I had told what to and she probably didn't get the whole story. Since so many people are worried about me, I am going to type it all up and stick it on my blog because really - who reads this but friends and family? (:

ANYWAY - yesterday.

I got to work yesterday and started feeling awful. Nausea, stomach (not uterus) cramps, dizzy ... and when I started throwing up and the cramps were worse I called my doctor, OB-GYN sister, and mother (in that order), then doctor again (I couldn't get through to my doctor the first time, nor my doctor sister, and I don't know about anyone else, but when I don't feel good and can't get a hold of people the people I should, I tend to call my mother. My mother's brilliant advice was "keep calling your doctor until you get through."). I am really bad at taking care of myself and determining if this is "go to the doctor" worthy or if it's just food poisoning/the flu/whatever. When I'm sick I get even less rational and don't like making decisions for myself! So my doctor told me not even to go to see her but to go to the hospital and they'd check me out.

So I go to the hospital and they hook me up to all kinds of "lets check this lady out" equipment and I felt better then worse then better then worse. The nurse said, "how many times has the nausea come since you've been here?" "Twice" I replied. "Yeah ... those are contractions."


"Contractions! But they're at the top of my belly and they're making me nauseous! They don't feel anything like what contractions felt like before!"

"Every baby is different. And these aren't big contractions. About 10 minutes apart and pretty little." They wanted to watch me to make sure they were false labor and as long as I was there they wanted me to stay for awhile in case it was real labor (For those of you who know nothing about this sort of thing, six and a half weeks early is bad. Not so bad that it wouldn't work out, but bad enough that we REALLY didn't want Sparkly Unicorn to show up quite yet). They took my blood and did and ultrasound (and Sparkly Unicorn has the prettiest face EVER) and determined that nothing seemed problematic and eventually (WAAAAAY Later) let me go home.

I'm on what the doctors call "modified bedrest" which sounds so much more dire than it is. I stayed home from work today, I'm going to stop carrying Kinsie as much, I'm going to be much more careful in what I lift and how much moving I do. That said I can still go to work (but when I turn on "Shake your Sillies Out" I'm going to tell the kids they have to shake extra hard to make up for my lack of shakes). I can still live my life. I really don't like that they call this "modified bedrest" because in reality it's "be more careful and maybe start acting like you can't do as much as you used to be able to do."

BUT one of the joys of being home all day is that I have gotten photos uploaded to my Kodak Gallery (FINALLY) - anyone who wants a link just email me.

This is currently my favorite picture. I think she kinda looks like Little Michael here (something I think all the time in real life but I rarely see captured in photographs). I'm now going to go catch myself up on emails (I know! I owe so many emails) ... and get myself something large and cold to drink.

Monday, February 23, 2009

dashing in for a moment

We were about to turn right out of a parking lot onto a busy street and the "leave the parking lot" lane was CLEARLY slanted to the right and it had a big sign that said, "no left turns." The car in front of me wiggled out of this left slanting exit lane and went straight across the busy street to get to the stores over yonder.

Me: "HEY! That's not allowed!"
Husband: "Where does it say 'No turning straight?'"
Husband: "What are they gonna do? Throw the book at him?

Sunday, February 22, 2009


First things first, I want to send you all over to Maureen Johnson's blog to wish her a happy WAY belated birthday (because I've been stinking at updating this thang lately. She's one of my favorite YA authors and she had a hysterical birthday post that made me giggle and wish we were personal friends. I would love to sit around a big bowl of pasta with her!

Hehe - wow. A week of crazy updating constantly, then just one measly update in a week. I'm SO good at this, eh? And it's especially sad because my google docs is absolutely full of things that I want to talk about, books I love and feel the need to ramble on, etc. (That's how I organize my blog thoughts. I'm weird, I know.)

Can I blame my lack of updates on Just A Mom? She's a good friend from college who I've only recently reconnected with. This past week we've been sending long rambly emails to each other and I'm afraid some of the things I would have rambled about here have instead gone into emails with her. So anyone who is absolutely addicted to my blog should run over and yell at her for being so fantastic. Or maybe just be nice because I'm enjoying having a friend to ramble at.

A while back I wrote about Kinsie almost pretending like she could count. She's frickin' rocking at it now. And by frickin' rocking I mean she can count to ten. Or - at least she knows what order the numbers go in up to 10. The other day, though, she pointed at a 2 on tv and said "two!" I couldn't get her to do it again, but that's ok. She's brilliant and I know it, right? (:

She's also going through this absolutely wonderful kissing stage. She just loves kissing. This morning I don't have to be at work until noon and the husband decided to get up at SEVEN THIRTY IN THE MORNING! And yes on a normal day I am already in the car by seven thirty, but my goodness, lady! It's the weekend! Learn to sleep in a little! So my husband got up, snuggled her, and crawled back in bed with her between us. She then spent HALF AN HOUR giggling, leaning down, kissing me, sitting up, giggling, leaning down, kissing her daddy, sitting up, giggling (repeat ad nauseum). It's amazing that neither of us got sick of it before she did.

It's crazy - I have a ton I want to ramble about, but I also have a jam covered daughter who wants to snuggle and really? That's more important right now. I just have to remember to take a shower after the snuggle and before work.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A storytime I wish I had the guts to do.

I was doing the best storytime EVER today (seriously - these kids were uber into it. It was massive, though. Friday storytimes always are ... ), and one of the books I read was Froggie Gets Dressed which is part of my dream storytime. A storytime I don't quite have the guts to do quite yet (I've only been at my job since September. Wait until they know me a bit better. (: ), but someday. Oh yes, someday. It'll be awesome.

SO! What is in your dream storytime, Miss Pirate, you may ask? Well I'll tell you!

It starts, as you may have guessed, with Froggie Gets Dressed by Johnathan London. Always start with the longest book, IMHO, while their attention spans are still unused. Froggie gets up in the middle of winter (a big no no in his hibernating froggie family) and keeps running out into the snow missing important pieces of clothing. His mother keeps calling him back to put on whatever he's missing, culminating in her screaming across the snow that he forgot his "UNDERWEAR!" TONS of giggles everytime I scream that out. Seriously. You want to make a room full of three year olds beyond happy? Just scream "UNDERPANTS!" at them. In that vein, we will be continuing with ...

Aliens Love Underpants by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort. The pictures in this book are just beyond giggle worthy, and the rhyming text is brilliant. See, aliens don't come to earth for any of the reasons most people surmise (to eat our brains, commune with our culture, steal our nitrogen or whatnot), but to steal our underpants. Oh, this is where my book rambling without having the book in front of me is going to come back to bite me, right? Because I would love to flip through the book right now and tell you about all the fantastic things the aliens DO with our underpants, but the few I can remember are them making a slide out of grandpa's wolly long johns and ... I think they make a parachute out of someone's massive bloomers? Maybe? But trust me! You want to check it out.

We end, of course, with Chicken Cheeks by Michael Ian Black and Kevin Hawkes. Animals are piled on top of each other and WE get to know what wonderfully alliterative or rhyming thing Michael Ian Black calls their arses. Chicken Cheeks, of course, but I think Moose Caboose was my favorite. Maybe bumblebee bum? Either way - this fantastic book. And the best part? The last page ... "The Ends!" Oh, wonderful fantasticness.

So yes, I have the same sense of humor as a middle school boy and think the best thing to do in the whole wide world is have a storytime on underpants and butts. You know what? I like my sense of humor, thank you very much! And someday I am going to make the best ever underpants or keister themed flannels and find some amazing underpants or keister themed storytime songs and then the STORYTIME OF AWESOME will unleash itself upon an unsuspecting public ...



Friday, February 13, 2009


Today was the BEST DAY EVER! Did you guys see that? Did you? OH MY GOODNESS! Jeremy Tankard commented on last night's this morning's blog post! Can I be gooshy and giggly and silly? I spent some time today wandering around his site because I was completely and utterly starstruck, and he says that his next book Boo-hoo Bird is a better read aloud than Grumpy Bird. That makes me laugh - hahaha! I double checked to make sure that Boo-hoo Bird is ordered at my library. I put myself on the hold list so I won't miss it (it comes out RIGHT before the bambino is due). But believe that some book is a better read aloud than Grumpy Bird? Oh no, Mr. Tankard. That I will not believe until I see. Grumpy Bird does deserve a better explanation than I can give, but fortunately Fuse #8 gave it one so I don't have to try and write an actual review. I'm much better at enthusiastic rambles.

I've been having brushes with my own personal celebrities lately. I emailed Mimi Smartypants back when I was barely blogging because something she said made me want to ramble and since I was out of blogging practice, I just rambled in an email to her. A little over a week ago - I got an email back! A few days later, ABBY THE FREAKIN' LIBRARIAN sent me an @ reply on twitter (!!!). Then, I won an ARC from Meg Cabot and I got an email from her saying that I had won said ARC! Yes, so it was a form email that she sent to everyone who she's sending an ARC too, but still! There is an email in my box FROM MEG CABOT! Because I'm just that awesome. Or whatever. (The ARC is for Allie Finkle #3. I'll ramble about it up here when I get it. I've been loving the series so far - but I'll ramble about the whole series when I can ramble about all 3!)

SO ANYWAY - Today wasn't just the best day ever because of Mr. Tankard. Read on, dear ... reader. (yes, somebody buy that librarian a thesaurus. Or send her to the 423.1s.

I did a family story time today (which we gear to all ages). We had a Valentine's Day dance party - they were loud and rambunctious and much younger than the normal family storytime, but I am always paranoid about that sort of thing so I had tons of extra younger books and was good to go. Afterword my boss said she was worried about me when I was Shakin' mah Sillies out, but even though I have doubled in size this week I had no trouble with being as incredibly active as that storytime demanded I be. (Full disclosure - I will be investing in a massive Sports Bra because while I can shake my sillies out, now that the pregnancy GAZUNGAS have popped, when I Jump my Jiggles out ... I worry about jumping my jiggles out. If you know what I mean)

THEN just before I started blogging I put my daughter to bed. She has been singing a lot to me lately, and as I put her down she sang to me:

Tinkle tinkle ittle ar
Row Row Row Row Row
Up abov orld hiiiiiiiiigh
five six seben eight NINE!!!!!

(for those who don't speak 21 month old - that was twinkle twinkle, the ABCs, Row Row Row your boat, and random counting all moshed together into one song that was beyond adorable.)

I really need to go to bed myself, because after typing up that last bit I am thinking about how wonderful it would be if I wrote a children's book that was basically just a transcription of some of the Kins's mooshed up songs. Thank you all for reading this. I really shouldn't blog when overtired, eh?


We had our monthly departmental meeting on Wednesday and we all shared some of our favorite storytime books. I thought I was copping out a little bit by bringing what I brought: these books are all so good! I'm not going to be introducing anyone to anything! But they are also my favorites, and I wanted to bring my favorites, so I brought these ... and all my coworkers were amazed. Where had I found such great books? This made me realize - I should stick all these books up on my blog. If these books were new to most of my coworkers (who live and breathe storytime books), then I need to share them far and wide.

Another thought is that I have very sweet coworkers. They tend to read and chose quiet, sweet books. I tend to be exuberant and bouncy. I would say that there are 3 others of the 11 in my department who tend to go for the loud crazy books, and the rest go for calmer, sweeter books. All of these books make me want to run and jump while reading them aloud.

Please note that I do not have any of these books in front of me, so all quotes are from memory. In fact, in general, I rarely have the book I'm blogging about in front of me - so ignore any factual issues! I just talk ...

Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard

Grumpy Bird is my absolute go to favorite. I remember once when the K-9 officer suddenly had to go catch some bad guys and was 45 minutes late to the program he was putting on at the library. I grabbed my favorite books and sang songs and the kids didn't even care that the dog wasn't there when I pulled out this book. THAT is how brilliant it is.

When bird wakes up he's grumpy. He's too grumpy to eat, he's too grumpy to play, he's EVEN too grumpy to fly. Looks like he's walking today. As he walks, animals keep flocking to him, telling him how much fun walking seems, and joining in. By the time his entourage has 5 other animals in it, he starts having fun! Hoaky, I know, but combine Tankard's bright, bold pictures with his laugh out loud words and you have a hit on your hands. Check this out, use it at every chance you get, and then be happy.

New Socks by Bob Shea

After discovering the brilliance that is Bob Shea's Dinosaur vs Bedtime, I had to see what else this brilliant man had done. New Socks was the first one I found. I love this little bird. He's got NEW SOCKS! And he's going to go down the slide IN HIS NEW SOCKS! And he's going to do other things IN HIS NEW SOCKS! YAY! Did you SEE his NEW SOCKS? Are they not the MOST AWESOME THING IN THE ENTIRE WORLD?

This little bird reminds me of me. Yes, I just spent my last post trying to convince you that I am a crazy, neurotic lady and I stand by that statement ... but I am a happy, crazy, neurotic lady. I am a contradiction in terms. I get unreasonably excited about little tiny things: new socks, the awesome used kid's clothing store over on Aurora, discovering a great new website, good food. It's easy to make me happy and my happiness tends to bubble over into excited giggles and unnecessary song. My poor coworkers have to listen to me tell them in great detail about the great reference question I just got on chat reference or the new word the Kins is saying. I completely understand the need to write an entire book about NEW SOCKS! Especially when they are awesome Neon Orange socks.

>Big Plans by Bob Shea

I have never used this in a storytime, and I am not sure when I will get the chance. This is one of the most amazingly fun stories to read aloud, but it's a bit long for the ages we get at storytimes at my library. I think I might have to start bringing it to every single all ages storytime I do just in case I have one that skews old and I can read it! As it is, I've read it to my almost 2 year old (for those non storytime people reading this: you can get away with much more when you read one on one to your own child then when you read in large groups to other people's children. The Kins is happy to sit on my lap and try and repeat words that I say. Other people's children? Not so much.) and she went to bed tonight saying "BIIIIII PLAS! BI BI PLAS!"

So the little boy in this book has been sent to sit in the corner and he starts letting everyone know that he has BIG PLANS! BIG PLANS, I SAY! His plans involve
becoming mayor "You! Dig a hole. You! Build a school! You! Paint the town red!" I especially love after he becomes president what he tells the states "State that the Librarian has forgotten! Build a rocket! Idaho! Build me a spacesuit using your latest potato technology! Missouri! Cheer up, you're bumming me out. The rest of you? Mill about. MILL ABOUT, I say!"

(hehe - it's especially funny because my sister used to live in Missouri)

Oh, I love this book. I just want to stand in front of a large group of kidlets and shout at them that I've got BIG PLANS! BIG PLANS, I SAY! And hopefully inspire them to dream MASSIVE!

Sometimes I like to Curl Up in a Ball by Vicki Churchill

This poor book is going last and I need to go to bed so it isn't going to get as exuberant a discussion, but that is almost appropriate. It is the quietest of my selections, for when I need something less bouncy. Little wombat explains what he loves - "sometimes I like to scream ever so loud - not that I'm cross, I just like how it sounds." The art is beautiful, the text loveable, the wombat looks cuddlier than anything.

So ... now it's time for me to curl up in a ball (or not, as the MASSIVE STOMACH allows). Two posts in one day! But what will y'all think of me if I post one post right after the other? Oh, this trying to keep personal posts and library posts seperate is going to be the death of me if I can't keep my neurosis in check. AH! Brilliant idea! You who read through to the bottom will know that I finished this post at 11:58 on 2/12/09, but I'm going to tell blogger to stick it on up there tomorrow morning so I can fool maybe y'all into thinking that I'm not some pathetic person who spent all night after her daughter went to bed lazing about on the couch typing about nothing. BRILLIANT, yes? Ah, but I ruin it by telling you what I'm doing, don't I. OH WELL! Enjoy my neurosis. I'm learning to.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

In which the librarian is neurotic

I have been becoming increasingly aware of how neurotic I am. I am completely ridiculous about it too. Now that I have a wonderful new job with wonderful coworkers and am away from a crazy destructive coworker who liked to very randomly insult everything from my clothes and looks to my lifestyle and storytime techniques, I am realizing more and more how little my belief that everyone secretly hates me and everything I do is wrong is rooted in reality. OY WITH THE CONVOLUTED SENTENCES, YO! To sum that sentence up in smaller more manageable bits: I tend to think badly of myself. I tend to think everyone secretly finds me supremely annoying. I used to work with a woman who fed those beliefs on a daily basis. NOW I work with wonderful, amazing, sweet people who are crazy supportive of me and crazy sweet and beyond amazing ... and I am realizing that I am neurotic.

SO instead of going to a therapist which I really don't have time to do, so that the therapist can say "wow, you're neurotic! Get over it!", I have started saying to myself "wow, that was such a neurotic thing to think! Get over it!" But wouldn't it be much more therapeutic for one such as myself who really finds writing and sharing WAY TO MUCH WITH THE WORLD to be cathartic if I told y'all about my crazies and y'all could say "wow, Qsie the librarian pirate is NEUROTIC! She should get over it!" I thought so too.

I had a moment recently that convinced me I was the worst mother in the history of bad mothers. Note that this was not because I was actually doing something that made me a bad mother, but because I AM CRAZY!!!

A few weeks ago, The Kins woke up screaming around midnight. My husband and I were staying up watching Bones way later than we should have - but sometimes it happens, ya know? So anyway, I go running into her room and grab her up and she's had a cold for a few days and now she's burning up. I'd been noticing for a bit how warm it had gotten in the house that night (our thermostat is a hair unreliable) and she was wearing a blanket sleeper, so I took off the hot, sweaty, fleece pajamas and she immediately fell asleep on top of her daddy (Isn't she beautiful? Isn't he handsome? Ignoring the fact that she was really sick when she took this picture, I love it). The next morning she still felt a little warm to me, but nothing like the night before and I have a very low normal so I'm really bad at judging whether or not she's warm. We have a thermometer that will take her temperature orally, rectally (with special plastic sleeves on, of course), or under her arm. She totally isn't up for under her tongue, I totally don't want to try rectally, so armpit it is. She squirms and yells, but it tells me she's a healthy 98.4. I stop worrying and bring her to daycare ...

Two hours later I get the call from her daycare saying "your daughter has a fever of 102.6. Come get her, please." Of course I do and knowing that a fever combined with as much coughing as she has been doing could mean strep or it could be an ear infection so I bring her to the doctor's office where they diagnose her with a double ear infection and a throat infection that isn't strep.

At Meyers picking up her antibiotics, I buy a new thermometer because under the arm is unreliable and I need a thermometer that can do ear or forehead or something better! The only ear thermometer there is Meyers brand, but I don't want to drag the sickie off to another store so I go for it, bring it home, and take her temperature. 93 degrees and a smiley face. First off, if she was really 93, she would NOT be this hot. ALSO, if she was really 93 degrees - that is NOT a good thing and I should be worried! I take my temperature - 91 degrees and a smiley face. My husband and I spend days trying to get this thing to work, lose the receipt, and are now stuck with an ear thermometer that tends to choose a number between 90 and 94 whenever you use it and goes with that. You can take your temperature twice in succession and get 90.3 and then 93.5. It's insane, but it is also the Kins's new favorite toy. She calls it "EARS!" and will try and take my temperature for hours on end, completely happy. Somehow she gets what this is for, but she wears her toy stethoscope as a belt. Whatever - I won't judge what she likes if she won't judge what I like.

Why does all of this make me neurotic, you may ask? What bit of this story has convinced me that I am a terrible mother? The fact that I cannot get a thermometer to properly take my daughter's temperature. In all thruthfulness, before the thermometer I was using at the start of this story, I'd had two OTHER thermometers that were just as bad as Kinsie's beloved EARS! I spent a whole weekend convinced that I am a failure as a mother and that EARS isn't defective, I just obviously shouldn't be allowed to parent because I can't figure out how to use at thermometer.

"Wow. Qsie, you're crazy. Get over it. The thermometer was defective."

Thanks! I really do feel so much better now that I've told you all that incredibly pointless story. Thank you for being my therapist!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

As you can probably imagine, I read a ton - and it's mostly children's books. I also have a yen for YA (Young Adult for all y'all non-hip-with-the-lingo people!) and once in a blue moon I allow myself to read something adult. Then I feel all snooty and pretentious and have to wander around talking about the Lacanian imagery in and the Foucaulian bent to whatever book I'm reading. It's really obnoxious - steer clear of me at those times.

ANYWAY - here are some quick and dirty book rambles about a few books I've read recently.

The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas

The Magic Thief was on Anderson's Bookshop's Mock Newbery list for 2009 and I was working my way through that list ... starting with the fantasy first because I'm obnoxiously predictable like that, and because I was also trying to read all the Rebecca Caudill books as well as all the local school district's Battle of the Books (BOB) books ... so I didn't really get very far in any of them. This year I started the 2010 Rebecca Caudill list the day it came out, and I plan on being just as speedy when they announce the new BOB books in May. So anyway - I was pointed toward this book by the mock Newbery list, and I am eternally grateful to whoever at Anderson's picks their Mock Newberies!

Conn is a pickpocket who knows he is supposed to be a magician. When he picks the pocket of Nevery and steals his locus magicalus, by all rights he should drop dead on the spot but for some reason he doesn't and that piques Nevery's curiosity so the two pair up. Someone is stealing the city of Wellmet's magic and Nevery is out to figure out who.

This book was so utterly brilliant. When Conn is narrating out on the streets by himself he falls into this language that reminds me almost of Cockney rhyming slang (says the yank who knows very little about Cockney rhyming slang) but without the actual Cockney rhyming slang bits. I'm probably explaining this all wonky, but as a few examples from when Conn and Nevery first met: Conn "caught a glimpse of his keen-gleam eyes" (p. 5), the wizard "loom-doomed up before me" (p. 8), and then with a "quick-dart for the door and back out into the steep, rain-dark streets" (p. 10) he's away. See - it's not really at all like Cockney rhyming slang (which involves replacing a word with a word that it doesn't actually rhyme with but that works with a word that rhymes. Yes?), but it reminded me of it and that's what I'm sayin'!

I also loved the discussions of magic. Lots of fantasy books just blip right over this - magic just is. That's how the world works and why would it be any different? Conn, being a smart inquisitive student of magic does the obvious thing and asks Nevery what magic is and where it comes from and how it works. Nevery, being a pretentious, brilliant magician of course tries to explain it and just angers Conn because Conn is convinced that Nevery is wrong.

For more traditional reviews, check out The Well Read Child, Ms. Tingling, or The Purple Cow.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

This book was recommended to me by absolutely EVERYONE IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD! And I am NOT EXAGGERATING AT ALL! By which I mean I am completely exaggerating, but lots of people did tell me to read this. It is very popular, had a massive hold list, and was YA, though, so I kept putting it off ... but then it was on the hold shelf waiting for me and I had just finished off whatever I was reading when it came in (probably Dealing with Dragons) so I actually read it. I am SO glad I did!

The Hunger Games is one of the best post-apocalyptic fiction novels I have ever read. It's right up there with Uglies by Scott Westerfeld.

A couple hundred years ago things started to go wrong with the world. Famine, flood, earthquake, etc. The usual. On North America, from the ashes rose the rich and prosperous Capitol surrounded by 13 poor Colonies. Eventually the colonies rebelled against the Capitol and were severely trounced. To prove their superiority, the Capitol destroyed Colony #13, and the rest of the colonies must each year send two tributes of a teenage boy and a teenage girl who will compete against the other 22 tributes in THE HUNGER GAMES! The Hunger Games are a The Most Dangerous Game-esque type of reality show where whichever tribute survives the longest wins. They will live a life of ease until they die and for the next year their colony will be showered with riches like sugar and butter and flour. ANYWAY - Katnis is a hunter from the one of the poorest colonies who provides for her mother and her 12 year old sister Primrose. When Prim's name is called in the lottery, she volunteers to take her place and joins The Hunger Games.

(someday I will learn to write a concise summary. There will be rejoicing in the streets and free cupcakes for all. This will be a beautiful day.)

The characters in this novel were amazing. Katnis is the main character, so of course I was rooting for her, but the other tribute from her colony was the son of the baker and I want nothing but good for him. Then there was the youngest tribute who was this sweet girl who was so scared and so shy and so wonderful! Then there are the tributes who have spent their lives training for the games and who are just so cocky and so cruel and so scary.

Just read it - seriously - and if you don't believe me, read Abby (the) Librarian (LOVE her), Fuse #8, or The Book Nut.

There are more books I need to talk about, but I'm going to take a break and come back with more books later.

Lobster-Plath part 2

Just after posting the entry from this morning I realized I am not making shrimp tonight, I am roasting a chicken. Ah well - the best laid plans, eh? But I did just send out an email to far too many people. I'm really not one of those people who sends out mass emails! I swear! This was just me saying something and I realized that I wanted a lot of people to read it! SO after sending it, I thought ... "but really, don't I want EVERYONE to read this?" so here you go: my mass Happy Lobster-Plath email to the world.

I'm sorry for the mass email, but if you are reading this it is probably because I figured you would love this as much as I am!

Today is Lobster-Plath, the anniversary of the day Sylvia Plath died AND the day the largest lobster ever was caught. I assume you're supposed to celebrate such a day by reading Sylvia Plath and eating lobster. I'm making roast chicken tonight and I today is much too boisterous for most of the Sylvia Plath that I know so I ended up perusing Billy Collins' Poetry 180 page which contains no Sylvia Plath - I guess I fail at this holiday, but I did discover a wonderful poem I had never read before. It is #7 on Mr. Collins' list and it is called "Do You Have Any Advice For Those of Us Just Starting Out?" by Ron Koertge.

I hope you all enjoy! And Happy Lobster-Plath!

(in the email I stuck the poem in here, but for my blog I'm just going to demand that y'all go on over to Poetry 180 and read the poem where the people who have permission to stick it up have stuck it up.


A very happy Lobster-Plath to you all! I plan on celebrating by reading some Sylvia Plath and perhaps making some sort of shrimp related dish tonight. I know, I know - it's LOBSTER Plath not SHRIMP plath, but if you look at the spirit of the holiday, it's really CRUSTACEAN-Plath and that's why I'm going for shrimp. That and because the husband and I are watching our way through the first season of Chuck and I just watched the episode where they spend forever talking about how wonderful the Sizzling Shrimp is. Now I want sizzling shrimp and I don't even know what it is exactly!

In other news, I was reading through some old blog entries and I came across this terrible horrible no good very bad cake that I told y'all I was about to make. Don't. Seriously - don't. The cider glaze, however, was lovely (I futzed with the spices because I don't actually own "pumpkin pie spice" and it seemed silly to buy it just for the cake, but that only made it better) and now that I've been reminded of it I think I'm going to make some gingerbread and put that lovely glaze on it. OM NOM NOM!

The Kins is learning a new word every day. It's crazy and wonderful and sometimes very very confusing. She has a favorite bunny who I named Marinara after she decided it needed to be dipped in Marinara often. She has just started to say "bunny" though, so her name has been stripped from her. Bunny, though, came quite out of the blue when she started looking around the living room while yelling "money! Money! MONEY!" It took me FAR TOO LONG to figure out what she was searching for. She's not quite putting words together into sentences yet, but she is putting exclamations together into lots of exclamations. Monday she had a bit of diarrhea. Each diaper was worse than the last! Tuesday morning when I changed her diaper she looked up and me and said "Oh goodness! Oh yucky! Oh eeeeeewwww." It was exactly what her father and I had said to her for each of her diapers the day before. Poor baby - I hope I'm not giving her a complex!

That said, YUCKY and EEEEWWW are two of her favorite words. I brought Mo Willem's newest Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed home from work the other day and read it to Kaylee. Wilbur is a Naked Mole Rat who likes wearing clothes. His fellow Mole Rats say to him "EEEWWWWWWW" and "YUCK!" Kaylee LOVED it when I read that part to her, and then she took the book from me, sat in her own corner, turned the pages on her own, and pointed to everything saying "eeeew! Yucky!"

(Side Note Mini Review: Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed is fantastic. It is Mo Willems, though, so I have to tell you that it is probably one of my least favorite of his books. That said it is one of my least favorite books by one of my favorite authors. It is really really good ... but if you're going for Mo Willems go for Leonardo or any of the Gerald and Piggie books.)

I don't think I've told the blog yet that I'm pregnant! How has that happened? Hi! I'm pregnant and I'm telling you waaaaaay down here. Yes, it is important to me, I just went through this (seemingly) looooong stage of not telling anybody about it and then told everybody all in a rush and now it seems like everybody knows. Do YOU know, intarwebs? Do ya? Good. Well anyway, I was about to talk about being pregnant and realized I should probably officially tell my blog that I am pregnant. Now it's done and I can get on with the whole moaning and whining and demanding foot rubs and ice cream, yes?

So this pregnancy has been so totally and completely different from pregnancy #1. Everyone said that probably meant I am having a boy this time, but then the ultrasound came in and voila - labia! My poor husband is going to be SO overrun with estrogen! This is going to be fun! YAY FOR TOO MANY EXCLAMATION POINTS! But seriously, ya'll! With the Kins I had morning sickness for 9 months. With this baby I threw up when I got a stomach virus and that other time when Brandon and Kaylee threw up all over the car and I sent them away so I could clean it up without the sickies being around (and it was just a ton of puke. Seriously - you woulda joined in just a hair too). Other symptoms that passed me by with the Kins I've been getting full force this time. Heartburn? check. Constant burping? check. A need to stick my hands on my lower back and WADDLE? CHECK!

It seems like everyone in my house has had the death defying crud for far too long (seriously - I got it at work and coworkers had it for 6-8 WEEKS. I think it's about as bad for all of us), so while I promised my siblings that I would be better about taking pictures this year ... it's hard to take pictures when everyone just wants to crawl in a hole and sleep until our sinuses clear, but I have taken SOME ... I just haven't uploaded them. I just pulled 3 of the most recent out to prove to the world that a) My daughter is still the cutest thing EVER and b) I am using my beautiful new camera for good, not evil.

This was when Kaylee had a horrible fever and she made herself a little nest on the couch then demanded I come cuddle with her. Of course I did, but first I had to take a picture.

Kaylee loves to empty out this one cupboard next to the oven and make herself a fort in it.

She loves it so darn much I don't mind moving all the pots and pans back into the cupboard when she's done - nor do I mind cooking around a kitchen floor full of random junk ... but I AM working on teaching her to put it away when she's done. She'll get there!