Who is to know

I was watching the Bill Murray thing on Netflix (which I did really like you are looking for something fun and uplifting) and they mentioned the Parable of a Chinese farmer… go ahead google it… I’ll wait.

tick… tick… tick..

Oh good you are back. So… Who is to say if it is good or bad. We started to say this in my household after watching, as a joke but then it started to stick. Something sort of crummy happens and the other will say yeah that is really crummy BUT who is to say if it is good or bad. We have even shorted it in text to the ying/yang symbol.

And yet oddly it does work. It makes my brain work differently. Say X happens and it is not good.. minor but to me at the moment not good. Example; about a month ago the furnace stopped working, no heat for 24 hours. Was a control panel, was not inexpensive.  At the time, it was just awful. I got all caught up in cost and cold and drama and did I mention cold… BUT it happened before it got to be -16 at night.  huh. yeah who is to say good or bad looking back now… had i met the Chinese farmer prior would I have been less anxiety filled?

I do find it helps my stress level if I think to do it… it may help yours. Give it a try … and say it out loud to those around you… they are going to think you are the most Zen of all ! 😀

Meh, maybe

A young patron came in the other day and said, do you have any good books in here?

I looked at this little girl and decided she was a mini me. She had her hair in disheveled pig tails, wore glasses with plastic rims and in the crook of her arm was a small Eeyore (another reason I thought she may be a mini me). Her face was youthful but her eyes ancient. Her outfit choice reminded me of a mix of well loved and what is easiest to find… a personal favorite weekend wardrobe choice!

Maybe, I sort of shrugged… what sort of stuff do you like to read? (Librarian tip #1 never let them see you too excited about reading)

She went on to tell me that she was in third grade but read at a fifth grade level and named some books she had liked. I said ok, let me see. I did a quick read a like search and pulled some of those and two of my favorites. She took them to a table and looked them over. About fifteen minutes went by, she came back and declared one …actually pretty good (that is a win, in case you wondered).

I asked if she like all the characters or just Eeyore. She looked me straight in the eye and said, I live in a bus. And then she waited for my reaction. I held her gaze and waited. She must have decided she found me worthy and said, I have had him since I was little and he is small so I got to keep him when we moved. I told her I was so glad her friend could move with her…and she smiled and asked what other books I had. I took her to a few sections I thought she might like and she left with three (she also told me she could only check out three at a time… mom’s rules).

Did I want to ask more? Of course I did. But trust is so very important with these kids and it cannot be rushed. She has been in a few more times since then, but never with Eeyore. She always asks if I have any good books and I always reply, meh maybe.

Learning the Es

The other morning, I woke to the pinging of ice and thought you need to leave early as it will take you twice as long to get to work and unfortunately that means you get no coffee. In the shower, I contemplated the odds of it NOT being an Elearning day and there NOT being a million kids at the library. If I had a magic 8-ball, it would have laughed at me.

I was right; the commute took double the time but I got there safe and sure enough my first kid showed up at 9:01am. My youngest was a third grader who had trouble even getting to the elearning site to do her homework. My oldest were teens who said, I don’t really need to do this. They roamed from section to section of the downstairs in packs. Set up little nests and worked on their homework… or pretended to.

It was not a quiet day, but a buzz of activity day… an I may be standing under a beehive day. Highest number was about 23 kids at one time. We did impromptu programs and snacks. I made PBJ sandwiches and cut them in half because I am a mom … lots of kids come at 9/10 am and stay all day long. If we don’t feed them, they really don’t eat. (reason #987 why libraries are important to the community)

We let the noise level climb a bit… my favorite interaction of the day was the 3rd grader who said, I am all done; what should I do now. I blinked slowly at her and said, uh read? Elearning days are exhausting and they don’t really get any easier. You learn to have a few movies up your sleeve, a passive program or two and lots of bread for PBJ. And a Pete the Cat attitude… no worries, we got this.

Bringing Joy

I have been watching Tidying Up and love that a lot of the things she suggests are things I do when I clean or tidy up. Makes me feel in the know; that maybe I did have a plan even if it seems like I am always just winging it. But the advice that sticks with me the most is “Does this bring joy?” As I watch the show, I see how people struggle with clothes and shoes. At the core, you don’t HAVE to get rid of anything, you just have to make a conscious decision that you want to keep it.

Little over five years ago, I helped my mom move out of her house. It took place over three days and was one of the most difficult things I have ever done (and there is quite a list of difficult things if we are counting). Things I couldn’t make rational decisions on in that small time frame, I boxed. I have slowly worked on these boxes over the years. The hardest box has been pictures. Pictures of my childhood and my kid’s childhood. Pictures of my mother’s childhood and her at college. My parents’ wedding pictures. Random pictures of trees, water and ducks. Pictures of places but not people. People I have no idea who they are (even if it does say things like Larry, Todd, Jen at the dance). I grew up in an age where you took a picture or three, and when the roll was done you sent them away and in a week pictures came back… they were so expensive (at least to us then) that even if it was seven shots of the same picture with maybe a head at a slightly different angle, you kept all seven. Same with the blurry ones. You paid good money for these… you kept them.

So the box has been overwhelming me. It lurks in my office. I move it around from shelf to closet to different shelf. I tackled three pages and then quit for two years. But then it hit me in the last week, why can’t I do the same thing with the pictures… why can’t I keep the ones that bring me joy? I am going to be the one looking at the album and I didn’t pay for six of the same shot of slightly blurry three year old kkdonk.  So I started again with that mindset. I take each picture and really look at it. And it doesn’t have to be the actual picture focus that brings joy. There is one I look awful but there is a great shot of the amazing wall paper we had in my favorite house we lived in. The wallpaper brings me joy and this method is making it much easier to tackle the box of pictures.

You know that moment…

when you are making cream puffs and it is going well and it is time to add the eggs. So you add the eggs and it looks like the above picture and you are sure you have ruined everything? (ok, maybe you have not made cream puffs but trust me this happens) At this point you continue to stir because the other options are 1) throw it out and have no cream puffs 2) cry and have salty cream puffs or 3) go to the store and buy ready made cream puffs. But you continue, you give it three more minutes of serious stirring and a little “please turn out” chanting and poof… you did it… you made the batter to bake for cream puffs!

I started my new job on September 10, 2018. And I walked in there the first day and felt a calm of this is my library, this is where I am supposed to be. Which is an amazing gift and I am humbled by this opportunity. However this is SO MUCH that needs to take place. The youth department has been without a rudder for years. There are so many kids to help and that need opportunities to grow,  learn and heck eat. There is a giant function in early March that I am in charge of and of course Summer Reading, with very few prior year notes. And I have made some initial changes that I am proud of, but many times I drive to work feeling like I have a giant pan that I just dumped eggs into and well… YIKES!

My advice, if you too are in a YIKES (and I will try to take this also) is keep stirring… it will work out, some how those cream puffs always pull together in the end.

PS no goat cheese  and broccoli are no included in my cream puffs… I was multitasking. I am sure this shocks you.

Shed that Skin

My company was sold today. And in the ways of all corporate buys and sells… it is a WONDERFUL opportunity for both sides. (insert small eye roll). All the correct buzz words were used and tons of empty reassurances were given.

But in the nine years that I have been here, we have had four different names … this will probably be the fifth. And I don’t think it is a buy and dismantle; it is more a buy and figure stuff out. But it is the next 12-18 months of chaos that is so wearing. The what is our name, how do we do this, what do we tell this person, how does vacation accumulation, health care and 401(k) match change, and even location where we work. All the questions that no one can answer at this point except with, it will all work out.

And it will, I have seen it happen again and again. Each time you lose a few more people that you wish wouldn’t leave but you know it is the right choice for them. They decide enough is enough and shed the skin for something new.

Something to think about.

What Good Are Notebooks?

My child used to call it “over listening” when he would eavesdrop. I will be honest I always thought it was a better word. More descriptive.

Many moons ago, my parents divorced. It was before the time of social acceptance of this legal process and it was difficult for my mother. Quite difficult. There is a lot of insight that you gain after 30+ years, but it was a time of quick growing up and caregiving.

She would be fascinated by the world of Blogging today. I remember not long ago, I went to my child and said, some stranger liked my blog post!! And he said, that is sort of why you do it? And what struck me was… no… not really. I blog because words get all jumbled it my head and I need to get them out… and maybe they help others and maybe they just float into the “interwebs” as my friends and I ironically call it.  I hope they help others… but, no I don’t think that is it.

My mother wrote in paper notebooks. She “hid” them in a drawer. I found them one day. And I read them. Over listening, if you will. It rocked my world. We were a country music family, with a bit of Johnny Mathis thrown in for balance. Lots of LPs on the stereo. She had written: Hank is wrong… there is no more light.

With hindsight… I know it was a vent. For goodness sake, she was with me for another 30 years, she needed to lance a boil, she needed to heal.  As an adult, I have danced in that dark. I get it. But for an early teen who is so very overwhelmed, yeah you don’t forget that. It forms you. You are very careful not to over listen if you can avoid it.

So… where does it leave us today? 1) prolly should not over listen if you can avoid it. 2) context is key 3) My mom was wrong and Hank is right 4) be kind to yourself and others… we are all just doing the best we can.

Shout out to:  Talking Heads: Life During Wartimes for the title.

Decorating

This time right now… was the BEST as a kid.

My mother would decide it was time to get out the Easter decorations. And we would get out the two boxes (about copy paper in size) and carefully unwarp the treasures.

It contained all the things that were part of her childhood Easter celebration. Plastic bunnies and chicks. Plaster rabbits with springs for necks (early bobble heads?) Lots of animals pulling metal carts. A chicken that was alleged to lay eggs when you turned the crank (but never worked in my life time). These sat out for the weeks leading up to Easter but then were “hidden” around the house the night prior with candy and small treats to find the morning of Easter.

When my child was about three, she gave the boxes to me. I was scared to death. He was THREE. He could NOT be trusted with these things. Some of them were from when SHE was three… which made them like 8,000 years old (math, really not my strong suit). I may have mentioned this. She eyerolled me. And to be honest, he was probably ready… me not so much. This is a heavy mantle. I was sure I was not ready.

But I did it that year. And the next year and… well, he is 18 and I am planning on doing it this year also.

And there are new ones we have added over the years that have meaning to him. But there are ones that mean so much to me too. There is a plaster rabbit with QUITE the attitude on his face and a coy looking plastic bunny, who sits by the flowers on our dining room table that makes me smile.

That is the core of tradition, isn’t it? Some of them hurt our hearts in a scraping sort of way but also make us smile. Some of them are really heavy and we are not sure we are ready… shouldn’t the ADULTS do that stuff… oh wait?! And some of them pass the joy and the past in a good way, like that sassy coy bunny who smiles at me every dinner for the next few weeks.

Uncommon Type

Book review… why are you shocked? I told you I might do this… granted not a mainstay but still.

And in full disclosure #1, I put this on hold because I heard that he was playing the role of Mr. Rodgers and we all know how I feel about him…

Ok, disclosure #2, I have only read the first three chapters at this point.

And disclosure #3, I just like Tom Hanks.

But…

I read fast. Probably too fast. I read a lot of pleasure reading, I compare it to sitcoms on the TV… back I the 80s  (I have no idea if there are still sitcoms on TV today, Netflix much?)

But this book is like a really good piece of chocolate. The words are carefully picked, the stories are random (short stories) but each one has such depth in such a short period of time.

I check this out of the library as a book book (paper) as I am trying to limit screen time at night. And it is perfect for that.

And… I think that is it for the review. Check it out. Take 10 minutes in a book store, put it on hold at your library. Read the first three… if you are not convinced, ok, we are still good. But maybe try it, right before you are ready to call it a day… let it tuck you in… night… sweet dreams.

Patience

I had a bit of trouble with patience as a child. I know this shocks you. And my Grandpa, who may have been the most patient man I have ever met, used to say, just relax it will work out. And it does. February is a hard month for me and it always amazes me when I make it to the end. 9 years ago I was frantically interviewing and looking for full time work, 8 years ago I was trying to plan a wedding in a place I had never been. 6 years ago was trying to convince my offspring that flunking 7th grade might not be the best idea for either of us. 4 years ago I said goodbye to my mom. 2 years ago I was nervously waiting to see if I scored high enough on the GRE and would be admitted to the MLS program.

Back the end of 6th grade, my son said, I want to join Band and play Baritone. In our world, you had to join Band before 6th grade. (Band is a capitalized word in this district) I said, ok talk to the teacher; see what you need to do to make this happen. This was a period in our lives when follow thru was not a strong suit; I had no worries that this was the end of this. Two days later he returned, he talked to her, he needed to take lessons over the summer with Mr. Z (phone number given to me), she would give him a baritone for use over the summer, he would test first week of 7th grade and if ok would be in. I had to sit down. Holy Cats, he was serious about this.

Home practice was painful. No, it was horrific. It sounded like someone was dying a horrible death via farts. I have no music ability, but I was pretty sure it was only the same 4 notes over and over for 9,000 hours solid.

He has talent. Basic god given talent. More than I have in my little finger. I have always knows this. I had a kindergarten music teacher tell me he had perfect pitch (I may have said, oh how nice. MOTY). He has the uncanny ability to hear something and repeat it musically. Talk music theory with him and you might as well be talking about how to work the washing machine, but music is in his core. I honestly believe he could not survive without it.

He was a drum major this last marching band season. And my biggest fear (while being of course peacock proud) was that he would miss his baritone. I was assured that of course not. But that season is over and he took it upon himself to get his home baritone cleaned and ready.

When he got it home, he played it to test it. And then played more. Thirty minutes more. And it was wonderful. I was sad when the recital from behind his closed room door ended.  He has gotten really good at playing the baritone. My Grandpa was probably right, I need to be a bit better about this whole patience thing.