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Oh wait, I AM.  As of yesterday, I will officially be the newest librarian at my library – the library I grew up at, the library where I volunteered for nearly ten years, the library where I’ve worked for the past five years.  I’ll be mostly a children’s librarian, but I’ll also work at the reference desk upstairs, covering breaks and days off and letting the regular reference librarians get some time away from the public.  I’ll have a storytime in the fall, when we expand our hours.  This is all thanks to the lovely people in the county who voted to increase taxes and provide stable funding for all the libraries.

I’m so flipping excited.  Sometimes I’m driving around and I make this sort of going-down-a-roller-coaster screaming noise, except quiet.  It hasn’t quite sunk in – and it probably won’t until I’m rolling out of bed and showing up for work at 8:30 or 9 am every day.  It will be lovely to have my evenings free, but I’ve been spoiled by having my mornings and most day times free.  I’ll only work 1 evening each week, and I’ll still have my one working weekend each month.  And I’ll only have one full-time job.  This will feel so weird.  In a good way.

I’m excited about in a professional sense – that I’ll finally be putting my degrees to use, and doing a job that I believe in, and having more of a career and less of a random collection of part-time jobs – but I’m also curious to see all the little ways that this will change my day-to-day life, like coming home at 6:30 and making dinner.  Or being able to have dinner plans with friends.  Or being able to go to all those evening church services that are so conveniently scheduled for people who work during the day, but are impossible to attend if you work evenings.  I can finally use that ballroom dance lesson gift certificate that my mom gave me for Christmas.  I can develop new habits – a good challenge.

And oh boy, now I have a really good reason to keep up with children’s books.

North of Muir Beach – gosh, I love the coast.

It’s a lazy Wednesday morning.  I made the puffiest of puffy oven pancakes for breakfast, and instead of having coffee with a little cream, I’m having hot milk with a little coffee.  Still delicious, but in a different way – I haven’t done a very good job of drinking up my milk this week and tomorrow is my turn to drive to the farm.  So the pancake used up some and the hot milk with coffee is using up more.  Pudding might use up most of the rest.  I’ve had a little cold for a week or so, which makes delicious cold raw milk not quite as appetizing as usual.

I finally took 150+ photos off my camera and I think I’ll post them slowly – I was just reading a post at Penni Russon’s blog about having blogger’s block (I particularly liked her comments on sadness and google searches), and either I have it, too, or I’m just lazy.  Or I’m out of the habit.  Either way, I miss it.  So I’ll try to jump-start myself with photos.  And more talking about books, of course.

Here’s a photo of the trail Bronwen and I hiked on our mini-break – conveniently photographed while on a coast drive the next day.  Yes, it really does go up and up and up.  But it was lovely at the top.

I’m reading Dorothy Canfield Fisher’s The Home-Maker, which is sort of painful to read but fascinating.  And I’m convinced the characters will become much happier before too long, so the pain is more bearable.  I think it would be funnier, too, if it didn’t in some way tap into my own fears about my desire for neatness and order.  Reading about slightly OCD behaviors loses its funny when you can imagine yourself doing some of the same things.  At any rate, I might need to take a break and read another YA novel – there’s a pile waiting for me.

I wish I were in Ireland for the occasion – although the weather is cool and cloudy, so it’s almost like I am.  I just need another cup of tea and I’ll be set.  I remember being in Dublin shortly after Bloomsday in 2001 and seeing signs up for various spots along Bloom’s route.  I even took my copy of Ulysses off the shelf this morning and flipped through, reminiscing about not quite reading it all the way through in college (I think I skipped a chapter).

Speaking of books I’ve actually finished, I thought North of Beautiful was fantastic and now I need to go read Justina Chen Headley’s other books.  Themes that could have been heavy handed felt true to life and I was definitely hooked by Terra’s story.

I made a dark chocolate cream pie (recipe from the King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion, of course) the other day, and now that it’s gone, I miss it.  I might have to make another.  I did a gingersnap/vanilla cookie crust, and the filling was pleasantly dark and topped with whipped cream.  The combination was delicious.  While I was in California, Kate indoctrinated me into the cult of Dorie Greenspan, and we spent many hours poring over her book Baking and making a coconut tea cake, world peace cookies, and a berry tart.  With Bronwen, I made a peach and fig custard tart from Sunday Suppers, and between all these things I’m feeling the baking mojo.  I need to figure out a dessert for Father’s Day, and in the meantime who knows what I’ll dig out of a cookbook?  I feel like I could try anything.  And I’ve got more lone egg whites in the fridge, so this time I might really need to try meringues.

My second day home from vacation – a week in California with friends – and I’m having a lazy Saturday and enjoying my weekend before heading back to work Monday.  I managed to pack exactly the right amount of books for the trip, which is a minor miracle.  Usually I completely overpack, or I stash books in a bag that I can’t access during the plane ride.

I was about halfway through S.A. Bodeen’s The Compound before leaving last week, and I hate to bring a short, half-finished book, but I needed to find out how things ended.  I got it on Kitri’s recommendation, and it’s a good fast-paced, tense YA novel.  Some plot elements I guessed at – the narrator’s family has been living in an elaborate bomb shelter for something like six years, following a nuclear attack on the country – but others, like the Supplements, surprised me.  It’s not really dystopian novel in a strict sense, but it really has that feel, especially once you get into it.  It’s like the father has created a mini-dystopia in the compound.  I finished that one up waiting at the gate at PDX.

Then I breezed through Ann Brashares’ adult novel, The Last Summer (of You and Me), which wasn’t anything remarkable but made for a good airplane book.  It’s interesting to see YA authors in a different genre – the story had a different tone from the Traveling Pants books and 3 Willows, but the characters were still young (early 20’s) and there was a recognizable feel to it.  A bit more melodramatic, and primarily following one character, it still dealt with relationships between a group of people in an interesting way.  Teens who enjoyed Brashares other books and want some slightly more adult themes could definitely pick this one up.  It wasn’t as funny as her YA books, though, which seemed like a shame.

Then I completely switched gears and started Andrea Barrett’s The Voyage of the Narwhal, which I picked up on a recent trip to Powell’s. I’m sensing the beginning of an Andrea Barrett kick – I love the way she recycles minor characters between books – it makes me want to read them all, and then go back and reread so I understand all the connections.  I’m reading her books out of publication order, too (I started with The Air We Breathe, which I think is her newest).  Plus, the characters all feel so real – there was one character who I suspected would be unlikeable, and did turn out to be a pretty terrible person, and I kept wondering if he would have a redeeming moment (pretty much not).  Other characters struggled to come into themselves in a way that was fascinating and slightly painful, but ultimately rewarding.  This would’ve made a good addition to the college class I took on “Travel and the Literary Imagination,” which interestingly enough came up in conversation with Bronwen on our mini-break.

On the way home, I started Michael Ondaatje’s Divisadero, which demands careful reading, but like Anil’s Ghost seems like it will be worth it.  Like the other one, I don’t really know where the plot is going, but it’s so carefully crafted and the characters are heartbreaking (in the best sense of the word).

I worked at the library yesterday, and forgot to bring Divisadero with me, so I started reading one of my holds* on my lunch break, and am now back in the land of YA with Justina Chen Headley’s North of Beautiful, which is absolutely compelling.  Terra’s interest in maps and collage art doesn’t feel like it’s there to make her seem more well-rounded – her interests are really crucial to her character and are working well with the plot.  And speaking of jerk-tastic characters, I’m really loathing her father and wondering what will happen with that storyline.

*Possibly one of the best things about working at a library is that it’s not the end of the work when you forget to pack a book, or if you finish one on a break.  I always have a few holds waiting to be picked up, and if not there’s a whole library to choose from.  No lunch break is every spent in book-less misery.  Plus if I see something good, I can put it on hold right from my desk or immediately check it out to myself.

Now it’s time to go spend some quality time with that perennial favorite, the cookbook.  I’m thinking dark chocolate cream pie.

June 2009

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