Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Is there a 12-step program for book buying addicts?

Hi, my name is Kim, and I'm addicted to buying books.

I went to Borders with Valerie today. She has been lusting for a new computer game, which we found out Borders does not carry. I had no intention of buying books although I should have bought books for the website development class that starts next Thursday. I did, however, want to look at a graphic novel, American Born Chinese, that I will probably purchase for my library's collection. (I love being able to say my library's collection.) Anyway, I looked at that book and browsed past the 3-for-2 table, but I really didn't see anything that I felt like I had to buy. Then a salesperson passed by and informed us that there were more 3-for-2 tables and the 3 could come from any of those. Damn the friendly salesperson! Why couldn't she just pass by and smile and go on about her business? Why didn't she ignore us? Of course, I ended up finding Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel, a book that I really wanted, and since I was buying one, I thought I should buy another, Wild Stars Seeking Midnight Suns by J. California Cooper, which meant that I got one for free, Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl.

When I was paying for those books, I realized that I should have brought the titles of the books for my class and bought those instead, but I did not put my purchases back or even consider doing so. Now, I will have to go back to the bookstore this weekend and get those two books. Maybe I should just order them from, which would keep me out of temptations way. I don't seem to have book buying binges when I use Amazon. Oh well, what's done is done.

I think I'll go read for a while now. Later.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Updates - New Job, Recent Reading, and Other Stuff

New Job - Week 3
School started yesterday, and I had a good, busy day. Students spent the day with their advisory (homeroom) teacher, and each group came by the library for a brief introduction to me and the library. I am really looking forward to opening the library for business in a couple of weeks. I will be teaching lessons to the reading classes on a regular basis, but I won't have to grade their lessons, so I am looking forward to teaching them.

I am figuring out how to handle library business. I had hoped that I would have some kind of training on how the automation system works, but I am teaching myself. I am asking lots of questions and probably driving people crazy, but once I learn how to do things, I will feel much more confident. If my past is any indication, I will become one of the experts in the district. I may never know children's/young adult lit as well as some of those other librarians, but I will know the technical aspects of the job better than most of them. I'm not bragging. I know me, and I know this will happen. Well, maybe I am bragging just a bit. ;-)

So far, I like my new job and my new co-workers. In other words, no one has pissed me off yet. Today, for the first time, I heard someone griping about working there. It was really kind of strange last week when we spent a day listening to a presentation about inclusion (a hot button issue in education these days) and no one became hostile with pessimism. I don't know if the faculty was just on its best behavior, but when people asked questions, they seem to earnestly be trying to better understand or voice sincere but not fatalistic doubts. It was not a bad day at all. I, for one, was trying to be on my best behavior. I paid attention and even participated when required. Remember, I'm new here.

Recent Readings
Last week, or maybe it was the end of the week before, I finished reading The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood. I have to preface my review with this statement: Margaret Atwood is one of my two favorite authors, so I'm probably not an objective reviewer of her works. Still, I really enjoyed this retelling of the myth of Odysseus. This book is part of series of authors retelling myths. In this retelling, Penelope, Odysseus's wife, defends herself against blame for the killing of the suitors and especially twelve maids, who were slain by Odysseus and their son Telemachus after Odysseus returned from his twenty-year journey. Not only does Penelope tell the story but she tells it from hell. I found the story interesting and bitingly humorous as Atwood's always are. I really enjoyed Penelope's jealousy of Helen, and the portrayal of Helen is especially funny.

Before The Penelopiad, I also read Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson. This short autobiographical novel was really good, and I thought that I would post a blog specifically about it, but I just haven't done it yet. Maybe I will do it later, but I am not making any promises. For now, I will just say that I think this is great book. It is the second Winterson book that I have read, and I am officially a fan of hers now. I plan to read more of her works very soon. I even put myself on her mailing list so I can read her monthly columns posted on her website.

Now, I am reading Interpretation of Murder by Jeb Rubenfeld for my book club. It's a mystery which I usually enjoy, and it has Freud and Jung as characters, which so far is interesting. I am really enjoying the setting--1909 in New York City.

Other Stuff
Actually, I have run out of blogging steam and want to go to bed and read for a while. Maybe I will write about other stuff tomorrow. Later.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


I LOVE shoes, and I love shoe shopping, which almost always has a good outcome. I can't say the same for clothes shopping, which is almost always a depressing experience. However, I haven't been on a shoe buying binge in a very long time. Three years ago, I moved and purged my very large shoe collection, and I have not let myself rebuild it much since.

Last week, I decided that if I couldn't wear capris or knee-length skirts sans hose at my new job then I would just have to wear cute shoes. While I understand the desire for teachers to look professional, I do not understand how anyone can justify requiring hosiery in the state of Texas from March through October. Actually, I think the hosiery requirement is sexist and could probably be fought in court, but I don't think that's a battle I want to pursue as a new employee.
A couple of weeks ago, I went shoe shopping with Valerie before she started her new job. I tried on a pair of Nurture shoes and liked them, but I resisted buying them then. Today, I couldn't resist them or the other two pairs that I bought after an hour and a half of trying on shoes at Dillards. Before we went to Dillards, we had already spent some time browsing and trying on shoes at two other places.

Valerie had never been shoe shopping like this with me, and I'm not sure that she was prepared for it or enjoyed it, but she did stick it out and never got pissy. I felt sorry for the shoe salesman though. The store was very busy--the annual tax-free shopping weekend really brings out the shoppers--and I kept finding one more pair to try on.

So, now I need to find some cute pants and cute longer skirts to wear with my cute shoes. Finding those items won't be nearly as easy or as much fun as finding these shoes:

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Early wakeup call

One good thing about my new job is that it is 30 minutes closer to home and it doesn't start quite as early. So I should be able to get up an hour later to get ready, which is what I have done so far this week. Today, however, I was awakened over an hour before my alarm was to go off--a very loud clap of thunder and very bright lightning--Tropical Storm Erin had arrived. I couldn't go back to sleep, so I got up early.

I'm looking forward to today's new teacher training because it is my first day of job-specific training. I have been officially at work for the past three days and, except for yesterday when I was in training, I have mostly pretended to work. I haven't had network access so I couldn't even pretend to work in the library collection.

Surprisingly, I'm not feeling stressed about my new job, at least not in a way that I recognize. I'm sure I will feel stressed some time in the next few weeks, and I hope that I don't walk in on the first day and feel completely overwhelmed. I think I will probably be okay until I teach my first library orientation, which will probably be the 3rd or 4th week of the school year. Hopefully, by then, I will feel like I belong there and know what I'm doing.

My biggest concern about this job is isolation. I don't know anyone at this school, and I tend to be a loner. I don't mingle very well, and I don't make friends easily. I don't have a library aide, and I'm the only person in my "department" so I don't have anyone that I can tag along with to lunch and not feel like I'm imposing.

I have met several teachers over the past few days. They have been there doing what I used to do, making copies, decorating their rooms (well, I haven't done that in a long time, but I did do it), and planning lessons--yeah, I don't miss those things at all. Maybe one of them will feel sorry for me and invite me to lunch with them next week when we have staff development. (Is it just me or do I seem overly concerned about lunch?)

Funny thing about the vast majority of the teachers that I have met so far--they are so young! I feel like I will be the oldest person on the campus. I guess younger students attract younger teachers. I hadn't expected there to be that much difference in the teachers' ages than the high school.

Well, I have rambled on long enough. It's one snooze past the time that my alarm would have gone off if I hadn't gotten up early. I guess I better start getting ready for work. I should probably leave early since I will have to brave the rains of Tropical Storm Erin.

Maybe this weekend I'll find time to write about the books that I've been reading lately. I hope so. Later.

Monday, August 13, 2007

New Librarian Day 1

Today was my first official day on the job as a school librarian. Unfortunately, I didn't have computer access and won't get any job specific training until Wednesday afternoon. So, I spent my first day doing very little except pretending to work. I did try to get my office organized and went through a summer vacation's worth of mail, but I was extremely bored for much of the day. I made a list of pretend tasks for me to do tomorrow, just in case I still don't get computer access.

It's really too bad that I have to wait until later in the week to have access to library software because there is lots of real things that I could be doing. There were lots of teachers there getting ready for back to school activities, making copies, and hanging team-related decorations. I felt like a real slacker, but there really wasn't anything I could do about it.

The most fun that I had was setting up my librarian action figure. Valerie surprised me with not just the action figure, but the deluxe action figure set. I took a photo with my camera phone. It's a crappy photo, but I didn't have a good camera. I'll try to take a better photo and post later. Here it is:

It's hard to see, but she is shushing you. When you push the button on her back, her finger moves to her mouth to shush. It's quite funny!

Well, it's late, and I have another day of pretend work tomorrow. I guess that I better get to bed now.