Ponzee and Pop-paap

Today my co-worker brought in a super cool XP-pen digital drawing tablet that he let me play with. I think he got it for like 20 bucks on amazon, or something to that effect. It takes a bit of getting used to, but after I got the hang of it, it became pretty darn fun. I’m not much of an artist really, but just playing around with it gave me something to do on this super slow Sunday.

Here’s our first creation. Ponzee and Pop-paap. As you can see Ponzee is a Panda, and Pop-paap is a kind and pretty Popsicle. It’s a collaboration piece, I did the panda, he did the pop.

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Playing with this thing has re-inspired me to write a children’s book. So I did. A super rough 6 pager called The Black Hole in the Library. Here it is, my first crack at it.

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Well that’s pretty much it. I did ask him to bring it in next week, so maybe I can do another installment. A series perhaps of library mishaps. I suppose it could always end in them closing the library for safety reasons, I don’t know why I find that so entertaining.

Cats and Buttered Toast

One of my best friends is having a baby shower early June, and in a clever twist, her sister in law has asked guests to bring a book for the baby instead of a card. OH, how perfect is this request. Build the little one a library with personalized messages from the ones who will love him and watch him grow. BOOKS, just books, I love it all.

Whenever I go to a kid’s party I’m that lady that brings books. I don’t buy toys, or clothes, or anything like that I bring books. If it’s a baby shower, sometimes I bring my go to Read Along Handbook by Jim Trelease –  as a part of the gift in an attempt to guilt the mother into reading to her child. Really, it’s just generally handy for book suggestions.  For kid’s birthdays its books, books and more books. The public has an awesome friends of the library where you can find, odd, offbeat, marvelous children’s books for .50 cents to a dollar. There’s really nothing like watching your friends and/or acquaintances open your gift to find such original treasures. I’m sure most kids would rather have a princess dress, or skateboard or something much cooler. If this is the case, then don’t invite me to your kids parties because they are only getting 5$ of strange literature out of me. So there. Am I being rebellious? Maybe a little, but I think the consumerism, especially for kids, is way out of control these days.

So what did I find today in the Friends?

A picture book called Mac Side Up by Bob Elsdale. I got it mainly because it has a cat wearing a backwards hat on a piece of toast on the cover, but as I read it gets better.

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The whole book is a play on the buttered toast always lands butter side down and cat always lands on its feet thing that was so popular like 15 years ago, you know, that thing.

Anyways. This cool cat decides that he is going to see what happens if he straps a piece of buttered toast with the butter side up to his back. With the help of his radical ferret friend (who wears sunglasses) he embarks on a stunt to try to get to the bottom of this hypothesis. Which is stronger, the fact that the cat always lands on his feet, or the thought that buttered toast always lands side down??? Well if you want to know, you will have to find a copy of this god knows where. I will give you a spoiler though, in the end, I think that felines may prevail.

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**Also at the end of this book there is a two page explanation of how there were no animals harmed in the making of this book, and how they position the model animals and surrounding images so that they are in no way distressed in the process (YES!)**

Back in the library saddle..

I’m back from vacation!!! YES. It was wonderful and relaxing and everything that I hoped it would be. 9 whole days away from, well, library patrons. I was thinking before I left about the fact that I spent probably 70% of my waking life in libraries these days, it was nice to get back to nature and get away.

I will mention that I only visited TWO libraries on this trip. Monterey Public and Berkeley Public (I would have went to UC Berkeley’s but it was Easter Sunday and it was closed). They were both pretty cool, but the highlight was definitely Berkeley’s 5th floor, the music and art floor, where they had a large and well-conditioned vinyl collection that you could check out. YES, that you could check out. I had never seen that before, so it was a cool sight. As a plus we missed the civil disturbance up there by a day, there were still some trouble makers in the park downtown wearing all black and hoods and waiting for somebody to start something, but nobody did. We got some sour beers, and Ike’s love and sandwiches and were on our way unscathed.

It’s my second day back to reality, and I started my week here at the public. Having a fresh start has made me ultimately less impatient with people and things, which is good. Right now I’m in the tech center, observing the two bodies that are in here while I type away. Uneventful is good, right? In the public sector, yes, I would have to say so.

There are a couple of things I promised myself I would do after I got back from this trip. One of them was that I need to spend more time out in nature. I spent a day in Yosemite and it was so amazing that it literally brought me to tears. I wept just looking at the rivers, falls, and mountains. I also got a breathtaking cottage out in the forest where I just got to sit and hang out with the trees and frogs and bears (the latter of which I never did actually see). Then as a last stop, Lake Tahoe. That blue green water, pine trees that stretch up to the sky, and 5 foot snowbanks left on the street where our cabin was. It was a rough winter up there, but they really needed it. In a promise to myself to stay more in tune with nature in the middle of a city, I bought an annual pass to the botanic gardens up the street from my house. It’s not quite the move to the remote log cabin in the forest I’ve been dreaming of, but it’s a start.

Here’s the best panorama I took at Emerald Bay:

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I did return from my trip with a minor disappointment today. Some poems I sent out to get published were, gratefully and kindly deemed “not fit” for the publication. The road of writing I’m sure is paved with all sorts of rejections and try agains, and thanks but no thanks. It’s a building process I know it, but today it didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would (I can actually FEEL my skin getting thicker). This is such a good thing, as I didn’t really know what to expect as a first try. It feels good that one small no isn’t the end of my world. I get kind of caught up in the rejections I butt up against, you know, job searching, relationships, friendships, etc. The fact of the matter is that these happen to everybody, we all have these walls to climb over and well sometimes you just don’t make it and there really is nothing else to do but try. Especially when it’s for a good cause, AKA something you love to do. Maybe everybody already realized this and I’m just last to the party. Anyhow, glad to be back, and working again. Let’s see what kind of library craziness comes my way this month. Finals are coming up, and we always seem to get some stories around here with the crowded study tables and all-nighters at the U. As I type this a drunk patron (one of my regulars in the tech center) walked in and asked me how to spell Mormon, he is yelling as he doesn’t have good hearing, he types the spelling into a text on his flip phone, then leaves my desk to sit down and log into the computer in the front row. Now, we will have to do the 30 minute long song and dance where he can’t remember his yahoo password for the 1,243rd time. But, he means well bless his soul, and we’ve been here before. Wish me luck.

Time..is..on my side

Today is day 8 on the current work streak, I feel like I’m losing it a bit. We are closed here at the U for Easter Weekend (Good Friday) included, and I am going on vacay for the next 10 days. I’m super stoked. I’m super excited, but excitement for me, leads to nervous energy, leads to bouts of anxiety.

I suffered a big one last night, and have a major emotional hangover today. Anxiety like this, to me, feels like going down a long staircase. You miss a step, and fumble a bit, grab the railing and gain your bearings. You think to yourself, good job self that was a close one. In congratulating yourself you miss another step, but this time, despite your best efforts grabbing out at the railing and thin air, you find nothing. You fail to regain your footing and start to tumble down and down and down, until finally you hit a hard numb floor which is the root of all your fears and obsessions. The top of the staircase is just the normal everyday things, like not being able to find rain boots. This is where it starts. Each step below the seemingly small problem goes deeper and deeper down into your psyche where all these demons live. I’m pressured, I have no time, I’m tired, this never ends, I grind my teeth in my sleep, I’m going to die alone, loans, bills, shitty job market, rejection, toil, my car windows don’t roll down anymore, will anybody ever love me, is the cat going to die, and finally, the best one:  What the fuck is wrong with me and how do I stop it? It escalates pretty quickly.

Well, I don’t know the answer to all of these questions, or how to stop worrying over everything. I think it all boils down, for me, to a couple of things; the need to have control over situations, and the lack of feeling safe. It’s not a panic attack, more like an anxious spell. Where, when presented with a small problem, that I am very capable of fixing, I become useless and freak out.  A big part of me sees that I am blowing things WAY out of proportion, but another part of me just isn’t able to stop it.

I found some stats on anxiety from the National Institute of Mental Health. It’s a big problem, and for anybody that has experienced it knows that it can be rather debilitating. The thing I found the most interesting was that the average age of onset was 31.

Here is the Fact Sheet if you are interested.

Here’s what I did to console myself last night. I ate dinner with a tiny fork and spoon that I stole from various brunches, binge watched friends, ate half a box of almond cookies that my bestie let me take from her house, put on a lavender face mask, and listened to Enya. Yes. Enya.

I’m a good meditator, and like to do it. But it just wasn’t happening last night. I just kept thinking who is this lady? So I started researching Enya and her life. She’s sold over 60 million records, never toured once, and takes around 7 years to make each album and lives in a castle in Ireland. She’s super private with her personal life and never married and never had kids. She’s one of the best-selling artists ever from Ireland, and the most popular artist in the new age genre. What an enigma of a lady. You know you’ve heard her songs before, in commercials, movies, just around. I put on her greatest hits and the first one was Only Time. I think I listened to it 4 or 5 times. It’s simple; time is the only thing that knows what’s going to happen. That’s it. Not you, human. Anxiety is a lot like living in all kinds of doomed predictions and frantic what ifs. All I’ve learned from life is that I have no idea what is going to happen next, I can take a guess every now and then, but usually I never see what is coming.  I’m trying to remember this Enya soaked lesson when I have my spells, the subject of time. I always thought it was my enemy but really, I think it might be a pretty good friend.

Also, if you have a minute, here’s that video (over 60 million views I guess people have caught on before me), it just might be impossible to not have it calm you down just a little:

 

Vacation pics to follow. HOORAY!

National Institute of Mental Health. (2017). Generalized Anxiety Disorder Among Adults. Retrieved from: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/generalized-anxiety-disorder-among-adults.shtml

Westward HO!

This year the U received a rather large donation of California History books that I have been cataloging over the last couple months, and the other day I came across one that wasn’t already In the OCLC system, meaning that it’s rather obscure.

It’s a book yes, but more of a self-published kind of book. Like let’s type something up with raw sketches and go down to Kinko’s or some small printing press to have it photocopied and bound with one of those annoying plastic spine things. I love this though. Today we have blogs, such as this one, and Kindle Direct Publishing where you just simply upload a book to the interwebs and it’s done and out there. Thirty years ago it took a little more work than that, but it didn’t stop people. Which goes to show you if you think that what you are putting out is important enough you will do it.

This particular “book” is called: An Authentic Wagon Trail Journal of 1853: From Indiana to California which is essentially the diary of William Richard Brown that was typed up (including grammatical and spelling errors for authenticity) and published in 1985 by his granddaughter Barbara Wills, who also signed the cover page WOOT!

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The best thing on earth to do with these kinds of things is read them out loud with your partners at the ref desk in old tyme voices which I did a little bit yesterday, and ended up becoming the inspiration for this post. The entries are wonderfully short and to the point. I gathered some excerpts from my favorite passages:

March 28, 1853

…Towards evening we came in contact with four drunken Irishmen. They wanted to fight. We got out of our waggon’s and made them take water. We were met by Capt. Meek about six miles from the railroad city who had come out a horse back to meet us. We put up for the night at Ryneld’s Hotel, 3 miles from Indianapolis. Ham and eggs for supper. Weather cool and cloudy. Distance traveled 18 miles.

May 4, 1853

…Still raining hard, half soaked and our whiskey nearly out. Crossed the river without much trouble and encamped on its banks in company with 6 other wagons…

May 12, 1853

Left at 9 oc, traveled over more rolling prairie wagons behind and before us. Weather clear and warm. Had a fine dance after night. Made a distance of 14 miles.

May 29, 1853

It rained very hard all night and give us a complete ducking. We rose and it was still raining. Took a cold bite for breakfast…

And in the end, it really doesn’t say much about if he got to where he was going. So, it’s kind of anticlimactic. There is another random entry that was written on the back of the diary, assumedly after the fact:

We all look dirty and sun burnt and really feel ashamed of our appearances.

When dealing with History primary sources like diaries are so interesting to me. First of all the way they talk. The things they think are important. Obviously a good stock of whiskey was especially important to this waggoneer. He also talks a lot about suppers, mainly ham and eggs, or cakes of some sort. There is a lot of violin music and dancing after dark. Actually, despite the Indians and the lack of running water this whole thing doesn’t really sound so bad.

I think a lot about the Gold Rush, and western expansion in the United States when I do the cataloging because many of the books are about this time in our history. Could you imagine it? Tomorrow your best friend is like… Hey, there’s this whole other side of the country that we just found out about, and if we can get there slowly, with all our possessions and families in wagons then we can be rich by digging stuff out of the earth. But, I forgot to mention the road is barely charted, and there’s a bunch of indigenous people that may be friendly or murderous, and all sorts of terrain and livestock challenges. There is no cell service there, and no turning back once we start, you will have to sell your home and anything else you don’t need, but hey it will be one heck of a ride and maybe we will get rich. Are you in? These people were brave as hell and I salute them.

Another thing it also reminds me of is my favorite computer lab game in elementary school. Oregon Trail….

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It was so realistic, it gave you and/or your family members some rough outcomes. I always broke a leg or ended up with dysentery or whatever.

Either way, throughout history we have relied on brave people, “trailblazers” and such to lead us into the next stage in humanity. It’s interesting to get a peek inside the heads of these people only to see that they liked whiskey, dancing, and food just as much as the rest of us. We may think we are so much more advanced than people from the past, but are we really? We are probably more similar than we think.

 

Brown, W. (1985). An Authentic Wagon Trail Journal: from Indiana to California. Mokelumne Hill, CA; Horseshoe Printing.

Picture credit: http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/oregon-trail/screenshots/gameShotId,3587/