Sunday, October 31, 2004

The week wouldn't never end

It was one of THOSE weeks at work. Due to a scheduling misadventure I had an Adventure Land book fair, Family Literacy night, District book exhibit set up and an author visit, all in one week. That was about 3 things to many.

The Book Fair went well, we sold $1,800 worth of books, which is a tidy sum for a school like ours. The children got a crash course in economics. A 5 year old has no concept of money and sometimes just can't graspe that their quarter can't be stretched to purchase a 12.95 Spiderman Book. We combined it with Family Literacy Night and had a excellent turnout and a satisfactory program. The higher ups were pleased with the efforts.

We've hosted the author - Jane Tenorio-Coscarelli before, and she's delighful. Jane is a friend of Jerona , my principal which whom she shares a passionate interest and ability in quilting. She was in town for the Houston Quilt Show. Jane is the author of numerous books, all with a quilting theme and all based on her own childhood. She's Hispanic so all our kids can relate to her stories of Pinatas and tortillas. After her last visit, Jerona created The Pinata Quilt for the library, which hangs in a place of honor over our computer corner.

I didn't do the schedule, and the principal who did gave the poor woman 3 schools per day. That was a great pity since that didn't give us time for lunch with kids and all presentations had to be large group, rather than small. I did my best prep and the kids did me proud, listened attentively and asked sensible questions.

Not only does Jane have to deal with a schedule that resembles the Long Island Railroad, she also has to cope with new librarians, some of whom are not adept at doing author visits. The second visit after mine was an author's worst night. I called to say we were coming and the response was "what author"? Someone hadn't bothered to read numerous e-mails. Another librarian didn't quite stoop that low, but she fessed up that she's not introduced her students to the books, despite the fact I've had them on campus for over a month.

Even though none of the snafus were my fault I still felt hideously embarrassed, I'm a perfectionist who prides myself on a job well done. Jane was most gracious but it was still most annoying that some folks did not act in a professional manner.

Many people in Houston are inner loop impaired so I'm doing the pick ups and the drop offs. Jane is a Starbucks addict after my own heart so I'm hoping that double lattes will offset some poor planning on the part of inexperienced librarians.

The Light Shineth! Posted by Hello
Well, the conversion that began this summer is now 100% complete. My beloved has sold the Harley - it was on consignment at Republic. Driving down there to pick up the sellers check was her last trip to a Harley dealership. No more planning vacation trips around the locations and hours of HD dealerships. We'll most likely visit some BMW dealerships but they are few and far between.
She flew to Atlanta and bought a BMW 100RT from her buds she'd meet on the trip - they own the Atlanta dealership. Drove it back, loving every minute of it. It rides so smooth and stops (and turns) on a dime. She's already been to a a rally, the Roar to the Shore at South Padre where she enjoyed blowing past everyone who tried to pass her. So far the top speed she's achieved is 116 miles. There were a few other BMWs there and all the riders gave each other knowing winks. After all, they knew who had the superior machine!

Before She'd Seen the Light Posted by Hello

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Skitty Kitty Surveys her Kingdom Posted by Hello

There is no joy in Mudville - or in Houston

A Baseball fan I'm not, but the playoffs managed to suck me in. Houston Astros for the first time in living memory (if not ever) vs Saint Louis. The Astro's gave it run for the money but went down in game 7. The entire town was ago with baseball fever, even the nonfans (like myself) were watching with baited breath. It was baseball at the games best, with extra innings and nailbiter finishes.

On the East coast the Boston Red Sox surprised everyone by beating the New York Yankees,thus giving themselves a berth in the series. Needless to say the residents of Mudville are pulling for Boston.

I introduced the kids at school to Casey at the Bat. Very suitable for the mood ofthe city.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Family Library Night

'Bout 4 years the district got a mega grant entitled Academics 2000. The bulk of the money went to buy zillions and zillions of Wright & Rigby Guided Reading books - more than anyone could process or even use at any given moment. Stacks of them are still piled up in assorted warehouses and stashed in back rooms and cubbyholes. Oddly, though it was supposed to "extend literacy" not one penny could be spent on books for the school libraries. However, a small amount of money was allocated to library programming, for the libraries. I'm not much for pull out the stops, one time programs so opted to open the library once a week to the community.

The Library @ Housman Posted by Hello

For some reason it was just what the community needed and wanted. We average 50-100 people each week, even though we offer no food nor any bells and whistles. The computers are the big draw, but the kids love the games and puzzles and the adults just like having a place to chat. We seem to be a combination homework help, playing area and neighborhood Starbucks sans the coffee. It's made our parents more comfortable about coming up to school for other events also and given the school a standard night for activities. Since we require the children have a parent (loosely defined as someone over the age of 18 who can escort the child home when we close) it's not turned into a free daycare center, instead it really is a Family Library Night.

The place has an entirely different feel on Thursday nights. It's humming and buzzing but it's a good, positive energy. Amazingly we have few discipline problems and the children do a good job of respecting the library rules and sharing the computers. It's odd that something so simple is so successful. A classic case of KISS.

Skitty Kitty surveys her word Posted by Hello
She's not much for being held, but she does like to sit upright and view her kingdom. She's learning how to purr.

My Beloved & her new baby Posted by Hello
My Beloved has had many cats in her life, but never a kitten. All the others have wandered into our life when they are well past the cute kitten stage. She's a push over for all animals. Skitty is the only one of the 7 kittens (2 litters) to survive Cujo the Raccoon. Only 6 weeks old and she's already used up one of her nine lives.

Now We are Six ...the Saga Continues

Mama Kitty, feeling at home Posted by Hello

Mama is starting to plump up. She still has a knobby backbone but her tummy is beginning to pouch out a bit. Skitty knows she has a charmed life and scampers across the living room, tail straight up like a little bottlebrush. The other cats continue to be tolerant and even Heine is thinking about coming round when she thinks no one is looking. We catch her looking at the kitten with a puzzled expression. She's like to join in kitten play but can't quite bring herself to do that. She doesn't want to loose face.

Mama & Skitty Posted by Hello

Ollie Man in a contemplative mood Posted by Hello

Monday, October 11, 2004

Obscure Holidays

Columbus Day is one of those holidays that nobody but the Feds observe any longer. Perhaps it's a big deal in the East but in Texas it's pretty much ignored. A year or two ago the School Board snapped to the fact that it's a long stretch from Labor Day to Thanksgiving, so they dug up some little observed holidays to ensure we'd get one per month.

Today was the day. A most excellent day for a holiday since nobody else had it. My E-Bay buddy and I went thrifting in East Houston. Explored a new to us Family Thrift Center which was new, clean & not yet trashed. Found a stack of books, some jackets and other odds and ends. The other two thrifts were disappointing but the FTC is definitely worth a return trip. To bad it's not on the way to anywhere I ever go. Three of the books have already sold - easy in, easy out. Were it always so easy!

It was a picture perfect day (which is just as rare as a tidy Family Thrift Center) so once My Beloved got home we went to Memorial Park to ponk golf balls. For once my driver did what it was supposed to do and actually connected with the ball with a decent sounding "ping".

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Blessed be Saturday....and Fall

Both of which finally arrived. The gray skies didn't matter, the temperature was below 70 and the humidy was was non existent. I slept in, had some energy and managed to have my books before I headed to the Salvation Army for box book table sale day. Tried out my Scoutpal and promptly made back my first month's fee. Not in books I bought, but in books I didn't. There in appears to be the value of the gizmo- by saves you money by keeping you from buying books that have no resale value.

Stuffed books into Sellers Assistant, photographed covers, sorted books into boxes and even managed to get the laundry put away in a timely manner.

Somewhere out in this great land is a Presidential campaign and I'm totally ingnoring it. Texas is a given for Bush so the news media and the candidates are not giving us the time of day. Does mean we aren't sujected to non stop political commercials. So far we've had 2 Presidential debates and one Vice Presidential and I've not watched any of them. I'll vote even though it won't matter, the electoral votes for Texas are a given. I feel like I'm failing in my civic responsibility but it's hard to have much excitement about the entire affair.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Bookselling in the 21st Century

At every sale I attend I see more and more booksellers punching in the ISBN's on their cell phones. My E-Bay buddy and I deal in mostly pre-ISBN books, so that method wouldn't work for us, but we do deal in some current titles. I dabble in textbooks were a 2000 copyright can be worth 42 dollars or 42 cents depending on whether or not it's been superseded by a new edition. I've been musing on going wireless myself.

Thanks to Bookthink , a handy little e-newsletter I learned about ScoutPal and decided to give it a whirl. Seems easy to use, we'll have see if it's worth the monthly fee. I sure hope I don't into a Godzilla BookDealer like the ones we saw at the Galveston sale last weekend.

There were 3 of them, working in teams, all armed with cell phones. One tore through the textbooks in hurricane force fashion, and excellent imitation of Hurricane Ivan left destruction in her wake. Books tossed helter skelter, dumped on the floor. The sale operators had done such a careful job of set up and they destroyed it. The others attacked the non fiction, piling up stacks of books and shoving others out of their way. Their stacks were so high and so untidy that it was impossible to tell that the books were "taken". They screamed at anyone who dared approach them and did their best of keep others away from the shelves. I know they made a killing in the textbooks- Galveston is always a good source for medical books. Luckily for us, they didn't bother with children's books.

I've seen them at the Bellaire sale too - 2 scoop up armloads of books and take them to cell phone central who hordes them and keys in the ISBNs as fast as he can. Some sales are starting to ban horders and snatch and grabbers and I can't say that I blame them!

So, I'm going to do my best to remember my manners and not let technology surplant my mental knowledge of "flashpoints".

Monday, October 04, 2004

And Now We Have 6

Mama Kitty and her one remaining baby have moved in and I think they are here to stay. Mama is very young, not yet a year old and coal black. She's got some Siamese in her, what with her triangular face, long slinky tail and her vocal cords. Skinny little thing but we're working on that. Baby is smoky gray, like her Dad who has some Russian Blue blood.

Mama is not totally feral, she's adapted happily to being in the house and has no interest in going out. Her purr rivals a buzz saw. She's also very easy going when it comes to the other cats. Baby is happy to be anywhere Mama is. Her current favorite toy is the automatic litter box.

The other cats are pretty much ignoring them. Gabriel, the elder statesman has seen many cats come and go in his time and Leia knows she's the Princess so they aren't concerned. Ollie keeps to himself as always. Just as we suspected, Corky is the one who wants them gone. She's very protective of her "territory" and doesn't care for interlopers.

Mama has a sister who just had a litter too - so I wonder if the cat population is about to take another jump.