luciab: (Default)
I think I may have this whole retail therapy thing wrong in my head.

Let me back up a minute-- I had my interview this AM with Social Security for my disability application. To clarify a murky situation, I have been approved for long-term disability from the state, which was my employer when I first had to leave work because of migraines. However, before the state will actually release any benefits to me, I have to send them a form saying I've applied for Social Security disability. Now as anyone who has ever read any of TranceJen's stories about her disability and application for SS benefits can tell you, there is no way in holy hell I will ever see one red cent from SS for my puny little migraines. I can still walk, talk, and function, after all. Still, it's a hoop that must be leapt through before I'll get the disability that IS reasonable.

I had an appointment at 10:45, and got there about 5 minutes early. After some initial misdirection, I got in to see the woman almost exactly on time. Once she stopped telling me I had made some mistake but it was okay, things perked along very smoothly. I'm still not sure why she had to go on about the mistake since she kept saying it was okay (and besides, it was the computer's mistake, not mine.)

I think my early experiences with Unemployment office people have set up my expectations of how government employees are going to act-- rude, suspicious, unhelpful and downright adversarial. (That was true in Iowa, Kentucky and NC, BTW.) Happy to say, the woman today wasn't like that, nor was the woman who I've talked with a few times on the phone. They were both very helpful and pleasant. What a relief. I was expecting to have to justify my very existence. Instead, she asked me a very few questions, apologized for some of them, explained everything, and was generally friendly. I was done in about 15 minutes. Woo hoo!

This excited me so much I decided to go shopping. See, from what I read about "retail therapy" it sounds like most people use shopping to cheer themselves up, but I'm the opposite. When I'm not happy, nothing looks or feels right, and I'm never satisfied; if I buy something anyway, it's always disastrously wrong. But since I was happy instead of depressed, I decided to go on and get a couple of pairs of shoes I've been meaning to get, but I'm never in the part of town where the store is. Today I was there, so now I have one new pair of Earth shoes, and one new pair of Dansko clogs. I wanted another pair of Earth shoes because I wore the ones I already have yesterday, and wasn't nearly as tired when I got home as I have been on other days. And I like the Danskos I have, and I've seen everybody and their brother wearing the clogs, and I had to at least try them on. Score!

I remembered to take my camera to the book repair shop this week, and took lots of photos. I'm still learning the camera, so I have some seriously fuzzy shots, and some where the camera was too close and the flash just washed everything out, but I got a lot I can use, too. I'll also try to replace the ones that are too fuzzy to use.

I volunteered at the local library again on Monday; I'm planning to be there for three hours on Mondays regularly. When I volunteered there before, it was like they were afraid to give me anything different to do, but after working there as a page they are more willing to trust me with a variety of work. I got sent to do all sorts of little things. It seemed to me like the place was hopping, but one of the librarians said it was about normal. Hell, I may have to go into tech services just to have a chance to sit down. They were running the entire time I was there.

And on the "I'm too old to be starting this!" line of thought, I had two people offer me their seats on the bus last week. Damn! I'm used to people telling me I look younger than I am, and suddenly I look so old people think I can't stand up for a few blocks? I must have looked really tired. Bad news is, one time it was in the morning. Yikes. I couldn't decide whether to be amused or horrified.

Okay, on that note, maybe I should take my walker and hobble off to do my homework. Which is just wrong; "walker" and "homework" never belong in the same sentence.

libraries

Aug. 29th, 2006 07:20 pm
luciab: (Default)
I volunteered for a few hours today at a new regional library the county is opening. It's a beauty. I got to talk to the architect, too; he happened to be in today and I overheard him say to a colleague, "They're filling up my beautiful building with all these damn BOOKS!" and I laughed. He started to apologize, but I was obviously enjoying the comment so much he relaxed.

The library will be opening within the next month but I'm not sure exactly when. They have a brand new building, new furniture, and all new books. I swear, somebody ought to help librarians figure out how many books they are going to need in cases like this. I was shelving in the kids department, and one of the librarians said they are only putting out about half the copies of books that are coming in, because the shelves are filling up too fast. I don't know how you'd figure it out, but surely somebody, somewhere, has a clue. Even if the catalog had the thickness of the book, however, it'd be a real pain to try to calculate how many linear feet of books you're ordering. Cameron Village had the same problem, exacerbated by the fact that they were weeding old books from an existing collection, too.

The other weirdness was in some of the assigned catalog designations. I shelved several juvenile-level biographies, and found the following: Le Bron James was marked "LeBron", the bio of Yao Ming had some books marked "Yao" and some marked "Ming," and Magellan's bio was marked "Magallahao" which is apparently the Portuguese spelling. Of course, that spelling was nowhere visible on the cover, so the nearest librarian and I were stumped on that one. When she talked to the cataloger she found out the explanation, but I'm not sure if that one will be changed. I imagine "LeBron" will, or at least I hope so; I don't know what the justification would be for using his first name. I overheard the librarian venting to a colleague later, and she was citing the placing of Leonardo da Vinci under "Leonardo" as another error. Erm, well..... see, Leonardo was all the name he had, really; the "da Vinci" part just means he was born in Vinci. True, what with us being arrogant 'Murricans and all, most people using that library won't know that, and think it's his NAME, like Smith or Jones. I kept my mouth shut on that one since the librarian was on a rant at that point.

Every now and again I get deluded and think I might be interested in working as a cataloger, but then I run into a situation like this, and I change my mind again. I know most catalogers in smaller library systems use copy cataloging, so there really aren't a lot of decisions to make. During the cataloging exam last year I was, needless to say, overwhelmed with decisions, so that would seem to be a good thing, until you get whacked with something truly stupid. Yep, I can see how, by following the rules exactly, that's what you'd come up with, but damn, yo, it's certainly not what any normal user is going to be looking for.

I may have been the first volunteer ever at this branch; at least they all seemed befuddled about what to do with me. Several people thanked me for helping. It must have been the director of the Cameron Village branch who was behind having snacks for staff and volunteers when we were unpacking and prepping to open there; she kept the goodies coming. Not so at this branch; after shelving kids books and getting up and down from my knees a gazillion times this afternoon I was in dire need of rest and sustenance and there was none to be found. I wound up stopping for Mexican food for dinner before I even got home.

One of the librarians used to work at Cam when I started there and she recognized me today. I allowed as how I might be convinced to return, and she said Thursday would be a good day since they had a big shipment coming in. It's adult stuff, which I feel more comfortable with. I'm going to try to get back over there then, but the timing will be tight. I have a dentist's appointment at 12:30, and class in the evening, so I'll be keeping to a schedule instead of going with the flow. Or whatever it is you kids say nowadays.
luciab: (Default)
The writing has been going okay today. I'm sure you've realized that the paper I was going to finish last weekend didn't get all the way done. Big surprise, that. I've known for a long time that the "thinking about" was a big part of doing a scroll-- looking through books, playing with calligraphy, trying different things. Now I know that "thinking about" is also critical for me in writing a paper. I had read everything weeks ago, and re-read it when I started writing. I did my thinking about the first part, though-- the history bits-- and not about the comments on the current state of things. I wound up trying to write that during the week, and re-read bits as I went along. I had to take a couple of days off before it started to coalesce, then. Fortunately, this morning it was working out okay.

Unfortunately, the reason I wanted to have the damn thing done before this weekend is that the final in this class is also Wed night (when the paper is due) and I need to re-read the pertinent chapters in the textbook. Four chapters is a lot of reading, at least in a textbook. Sigh.

I finally read American Gods, recommended by [livejournal.com profile] bzzzyb, and liked it well enough that I just checked out Neverwhere. It was also interesting the other day when I was behind the reference desk and overheard a patron ask one of the librarians to help him find a book called "Anansi Boys." Hmmm, I thought. That sounds familiar, but I couldn't place it. As I was leaving, I heard the librarian say something about "G-A-Y??" I got halfway across the library when it dawned on me; I went back, just in case they weren't getting anywhere. Good thing I did, because they were having no luck at all. Not-yet-a-librarian to the rescue! I spelled "Gaiman" and "Anansi" for her, and bingo! There it was, pretty as you please. Yay, me!

I was also able to help a librarian (ESL) who didn't know how to spell "fibromyalgia," and couldn't read the patron's handwriting. The patron was also ESL, and of course they didn't have the SAME first language. Good thing I am moderately up on health stuff. I'm also planning to take a class on Health reference sources this fall; I suspect that would be a major topic at a reference desk. I'm not sure that most patrons will need anything more specific than what would be found in a general reference source, but hey. Ya never know.

no excuse

Feb. 17th, 2006 02:09 pm
luciab: (Default)
Man, oh, man. There's no reason at all for me to be as exhausted as I am. I got enough sleep last night (well, according to the clock, anyway. If I'm this tired maybe it wasn't really enough somehow.) And my legs feel like they've been beaten with a stick, they hurt so bad. I shelved some books this morning, and I swear they were all on the bottom shelf, but geez. It wasn't that many.

library )

Miranda has a new favorite toy-- a grape. It might be the one she hoooked with a claw and pulled out of the garbage can, or one she batted off my plate, or the one she got a couple of days ago and managed to hide in a corner, but her supply of grapes is getting scary. I have this awful dread that I'll get up in the night and step on one in the dark and freak out because it'd be all cold and wet and slimy. Ewww. And besides the visceral pleasure that would cause me, it would also stain whatever rug it happenedn to be on, because they are red grapes. I know this because I stepped on one, though not in my bare feet.

Well, there may be more news that's fit to print, but I can't think of it right now.
luciab: (Default)
So maybe the cinnamon ran away with.... geez, I dunno, maybe the other jar of cinnamon. I had a new jar that I had been using in my coffee in the mornings, and a few days ago it vanished. I looked everywhere--the cabinet where it belongs, the refrigerator, the pantry, under the cart where the coffee pot sits, but it was nowhere to be found. Finally I decided the kittens must have knocked it off into the trash can which sits too-conveniently close. Silly me, I guess I forgot to put it away, and the kittens are definitely enjoying knocking things off whatever they're on. So I gave up and bought a new jar. I got to use it once, to make cinnamon toast... and now it's gone too. WTF? I've looked all over- again- and all I can think is, maybe I need to start buying the stuff in bulk. Maybe I'll get to use some before they all vanish.

I made some stuffed peppers today. I found eggplant, peppers and onions on the day-old shelf at the Teeter. (Brigida says they called it "used food" when they were kids and the damn phrase is stuck in my head. Ewwww....) I made what would be moussaka if I layered it with bechamel sauce, and it's pretty tasty as stufffing for the peppers. (It would have been better with the cinnamon the recipe called for, though.) I got papaya and passion fruit on the same shelf.... yeah, passion fruit. Boy, that's what I need, alright. Huh. I've never bought either of those things and had no idea what to expect when I cut the passion fruit open. Whatever I expected, it wasn't what I saw, though. Weird. I had to look it up online to find out what the hell to do with it to make it usable. (It's used for juice, which you get by straining the pulp and seeds through a wire mesh strainer. It's going to have to be pretty damn good to be worth the mess!)

I really hesitate to say this, but I haven't had a headache for most of the week. Wow, what a great feeling! I've been really productive, too. I'm getting lots done on the current scroll, and it's looking pretty good. I'm still having trouble with the gold leaf, but a different type of trouble than I usually have. I got some stuff called "Instacoll" to use put the gold leaf on, and it was supposed to give a smooth finish like gesso. Ha. I've tried thick coats, to get the surface tension to prevent brush strokes, but that gave me a pebbled finish. Nobody else has heard of this happening. Several thin coats still give me the funky texture, and it's not brush strokes. Anyway, the gold sticks to it wonderfully but I can't get the damn texture as smooth as I want. It still has that great flash, though. Heh. I can't post pics of it yet (court scroll) but I'm happy with how it's coming along. I'll post a link when it's safe.

I'm volunteering at the local library starting Monday AM. Nia had this idea that the library would be a good place for me to work-- low stress, no overtime-- and hey, it does sound good enough that it's worth volunteering to see what I think. Besides, I'm there regularly anyway, so I might as well be helpful. I need to balance it with the other commitments, including working on the proposed business stuff, as well as another court scroll, and of course there's Pennsic to sew for. I have lots of garb, but most of it's way too big now, and while many of the dresses look like T-tunics, I got just fancy enough with most of them that taking them up will be a pain.

I'm off to bed with my book now (passion fruit notwithstanding) so I can get up and do laundry tomorrow morning, and then work on the paying commission job, and the scroll, and cuddle kittens in between.

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Susan Arthur

February 2011

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