Category Archives: Etc.

Saving a day with silliness

Today was one of those days, and when I got home I wrote a rather self-pitying draft of a blog post.  It made me feel better, which was good, and I had the sense to save it as a draft and come back to it later and delete it, which was even better than good.

The thing is – and you won’t often hear this because it’s hard to put these feelings out there – that it’s tough being a public servant.  Every day is public, which is usually ok, and then there are days like today when there are brief moments where you truly feel the servant part of the job description.  It really was the briefest of moments today that I felt servile, but like most negative things, it outweighed all the positive moments of the day for quite a while and got me down.

So I made myself do two things this evening to get myself out of my little funk:  I reminded myself that it is impossible to be universally liked at all times by all people (yes, that’s a bit redundant, but I don’t care), and that what’s important is that I try very, very, very hard every day to do the best job that I can with the best attitude and a smile on my face.

And then there’s the second thing I did to get myself out of my funk:  I watched an online clip about the exercise video that I saw a tease for on the Today Show this morning…Prancercise.  Thank goodness for that.  I instantly felt better.


Just after storytime finished this morning, while I was still surrounded by a crowd of happy and chatty two and three year olds, my coworker Jane brought a large cardboard box into the children’s room and put it behind my desk.  Not too unusual, just another delivery of something, so I didn’t think much about it.

And then, after all the storytime families had left and the room was quiet, I noticed that the persistent (and recently rather loud) tinnitus in my ears had graduated to a new level of annoying:  my ears were going beepbeepbeep  beepbeepbeep  beepbeepbeep.  “Oh, dear,” I thought to myself, “I guess I really DO need to see a doctor about the tinnitus – this is awful!!!”  And I started getting really worried.

And then I realized that the beepbeepbeep  beepbeepbeep  beepbeepbeep could be traced to the box that Jane had delivered.  A-ha!  The delivery of bookmark timers (which will be summer reading raffle prizes) had arrived!

But my joy at their arrival soon changed to absolute frustration bordering on beginning insanity.  There are one hundred bookmark timers in that large cardboard box, and each bookmark is in its own little white box.  AND I CAN’T FIGURE OUT WHICH ONE IS BEEPING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!

[It should be noted here, as I quietly go insane, that the tech services staff had lived with this box for two days before figuring out where the beeping was coming from…and that Jane brought the box down to me so that THEY wouldn’t go insane.  :)]

Ah, vacation…

We had a great vacation – relaxing, refreshing, and fun.  Here are a few highlights:

A road not taken

All of us have things that we could have pursued in life, but haven’t – those roads not taken.  Yesterday I was reminded of one of mine…

Quite unexpectedly, I ran into the mother of one of my former students yesterday, and our conversation made my week (perhaps even month).  I recognized her immediately – especially since I had the advantage of context, as she was working the job where I met her – but it took her a few seconds to realize who I was.  Her face literally lit up as she figured out that it was me, and she said, “Abby!!!!!!” with a huge smile.  And then she started talking about how key I was to her son’s success in life, and that they frequently think of me and are thankful for what I did for him, for, as she put it, I started the ball rolling for her son’s education.

I tutored her son when he was in kindergarten and first grade, and he was the most dyslexic student I ever worked with.  Very sweet, and very, very smart, but very dyslexic, and his school system was not providing anything close to what he needed.  I suspect that that school system had never had a child quite like him, and simply didn’t know how to help him.  My role in working with this student was primarily to get his confidence back, help him with sound recognition, and, when his mother asked me in desperation if her son should attend a school that specializes in dyslexia, to give his parents the name and number of an advocate.  That advocate managed to get this boy into the Landmark School, with the town paying the bill, and the difference in the boy was almost immediate.  He had reached the point where school was unbearable for him, but after he started at Landmark I remember his mother telling me that suddenly he was the first one in the family to wake up in the morning, and that he would get dressed and ready for school and wait impatiently for his family to drive him there.

And I found out yesterday that now he is finishing his junior year in highschool; he owns and operates his own landscaping business; he can read fluently; he plans on attending a two year college; and that he wants to have a career as a tugboat captain.  He is thriving, and his mother very kindly gave me a lot of credit for his success, since I was the first one to recognize the extent of his needs and I helped her find the experts to get him where he needed to be.

This isn’t the first time a parent (or child) has credited me with such grand things, and yesterday I once again worried whether I made the right decision seven or so years ago when I decided to lose my $100 deposit at Simmons and not enroll as a student in the two degree programs in which I had been accepted:  to get my master’s in special education and my education specialist degree in language and literacy.  Everything had been signed and sealed for me to get those degrees and then pursue a career as a reading specialist, but each morning as I got ready for work I’d cry my eyes out and say to myself, “But I want to be a children’s librarian!!!”  And so that’s what I did – I went with the career path that felt right to me.

But was it the right path?  Do I as a children’s librarian have as much potential to positively and profoundly affect kids’ lives as I would as a reading specialist?  I’m not sure.  In going down the path that I knew would make me happy, did I lessen the positive impact that I could make on the world?  Or, as I’ve often told myself, would the fact that being a reading specialist wouldn’t make me happy mean that I ultimately wouldn’t be as good at that job and thus not as effective?  I’ll never definitively know the answers to those questions.  But I do know that it was lovely to see that mother yesterday and to hear how well her almost-grown son is doing, all these years after I knew him.

Merry Christmas!

I had plans to take another look through my book collection this year to find more books that have been given to me as Christmas gifts – but last winter’s ice dam which caused a roof leak which made us take out the sagging damp ceiling in the porch which means that most of our bookshelves are currently under tarps…all of that means that I can’t access a large portion of my book collection at the moment.  (Ah, home repairs!)

But here is the link to last year’s Christmas post on books that I’ve received as gifts over the years.  And please, in the comments section do share any books that you received yourself this year (or in years past)!!

Vacation Checklist

Or:  How To Cram a Year’s Worth of Living Into Two Weeks

Or:  Confessions of a Crazy Lady

Items completed:

  • Teeth cleaned
  • Saw eye doctor for annual checkup
  • Refinanced mortgage
  • Got 15 yard dumpster
  • And filled it with stuff from the basement
  • And the garage
  • And the rest of the house
  • Which means that I (and Jim):
  • Cleaned the basement
  • Cleaned the garage
  • Cleaned all those forgettable corners in the rest of the house
  • Gathered together lots of stuff from all those areas for our upcoming yard sale
  • Painted 2 coats of Super White paint on door and window trim and baseboards in the bathroom and the foyer (and there’s a lot of trim in those two rooms)
  • Touched up dark blue paint in bathroom
  • Repainted foyer walls
  • Worked really really hard (and not necessarily successfully) to get dried paint drops off of the new tile floor in those two rooms
  • Stocked up on basic necessities for Hurricane Irene
  • Survived Hurricane Irene without any damage
  • Got chimney cleaned
  • Got water meter replaced
  • Got annual gas line safety checkup
  • Got quote on repairs to our crumbling chimney
  • Had Jim’s (small) birthday party
  • Started construction of new front steps
  • Read three books:  Hole in My Life by Jack Gantos; One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street by Joanne Rocklin; and The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner
  • Packed up two boxes of books to sell at the used bookstore
  • Investigated opening an account at Alibris to sell three books that have some value
  • Spent quality time with Ophy and Pippa

Items not yet completed:

  • Relax
  • Read more books
  • Write more blog posts

All in all, I’d say it’s been a great vacation.  And, there are still five days left!  Plenty of time to accomplish more…

A day at the museum…

Jim and I made a visit to the MFA Boston today, partly so that I could see if I remembered the intricacies of how to drive to the Simmons College campus (which, apparently, I don’t), and partly to see the much-talked-about Chihuly glass exhibit.  The museum was crowded – really, really crowded – and after waiting in line for fifteen minutes to get our tickets, we decided to eat lunch first, before the masses also hit the cafeteria (the pizza was pretty terrible, unfortunately).  And then we made our way through the maze of the museum, which has changed substantially since the last time I was there several years ago, meaning that I was completely turned around and confused about how to get where we were going.  After some wandering we found the line for the Chihuly exhibit, and waited in line for a good half hour or more until we were able to get in.  The exhibit was definitely worth the wait: the glass is gorgeous, the colors stunning, the pieces he has created truly unbelievable in their scale and proportion and ability to defy gravity.  But the crush of people was a bit much for us two suburban types, and we buzzed through more quickly than we would have done if it hadn’t been so busy.  I was disappointed by the portion of the exhibit pictured here, simply because the room was stuffed with other people, humid and smelly with their body heat and dampness.  Jim lasted all of a minute in that room before requesting that we move along…and I was right with him.

I couldn’t help thinking wistfully of the time that Dad and Linda and I visited the Mauritshuis in the Hague ten years ago: there was a public transportation strike that day, and the three of us decided to hire a car and driver to get us from Noordwijk ann zee to the Hague.  Maybe it was the transportation strike, maybe we just timed things well, or maybe the Mauritshuis is always rather sleepy, but we were almost the only visitors at the museum.  I got to spend a good half hour in the company of Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” just me in that room with that amazing painting.  That was one of the best half hours of my life, being able to study and appreciate that masterpiece without other people to bug me, and I have a feeling that being alone with Chihuly’s glass pieces could be similarly memorable.  But there were just too many people, too many iPhones and Blackberries and other devices, too much photo-taking.  I wonder whether the people taking those photos were even looking at the art while they were able to, or if they were simply accumulating snapshots to upload to their Facebook pages – “Look where I was today!”

I’m glad we went, though; glad we ventured out of the ‘burbs and into the city.  (I can’t forget to mention that we used the library’s museum pass to get in, saving us $30 in admission fees – yet another reason to love your library.)  And in my next post I’ll let y’all in on the reason why I needed to refresh my memory of how to get to the Simmons campus…can you stand the suspense until that post is posted?


Our bathroom project isn’t quite done, BUT…we now have a sink!!!!!  For the first time in six months!!!!

Below is a “before” photo of the bathroom as it was – cramped, overstuffed with cabinetry, and with a rapidly decaying floor.  And then there are the three triumphant “after” photos of our almost-complete bathroom…with the new pedestal sink!!!  I don’t even want to think about what the bill will be for the plumbers; right now I just want to enjoy this gorgeous sink.  (Click on images to enlarge.)