Notes from inside the suit

It was like an outer-body-but-in-Barney’s-body experience.  I’m talking about my blessed hour in a raccoon mascot suit.  5 hundred, twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes huh? Well you haven’t lived until you put in some time in one of these babies.

Was I thrilled from the moment I got the news that I’d be visiting a local elementary school as a masked rodent? Not exactly.  There was a pout here and a gnash there and although I never wanted to be “that” librarian I definitely had this fleeting thought: ‘Dress up in a who and do what?? Dude! I have a Master’s Degree!’   Nonetheless I put on the suit and walked into the school and boy am I glad I did.

Children (especially the kind that you, yourself don’t hafta feed, clothe and make something of) are such a joy.  Haven’t gotten your 15 minutes? Put on a mascot suit and go to an elementary school! I felt like Beyonce or Beiber! The kids showered me with such adoration and applause! I may not have to see my therapist this month!

So I’ll give you a quick and dirty (librarian term) report:

  • If you ever agree to get in a mascot suit (and you must), make sure the fan inside the head works.  Mine didn’t and I had a waterfall of sweat rolling down my face the entire time. When I was beside myself with heat and sweat my assistant pulled me to the side and threw cold water from her water bottle through the mesh eyes and onto my face Basketball Wives style.  Between my mascara and the sweat and water I still looked like a raccoon when I took the head off.
  • If you ever agree to get in a mascot suit (and you must), you gotta pay special attention to that one kid, the one that looks a little more disheveled and neglected that the rest.  They’re the one who really needs you to be their big, giant, caring, non-creepy bear.
  • If you ever agree to get in a mascot suit (you know the drill), you might want to check out this or that to get prepared.  Blowing kisses and waving is all good but a mascot who Crip walks? #winning
  • If you ever agree to get in a mascot suit make sure that they just, recently, some time this century dry cleaned it.  I learned this one the hard way amigos.  I smelled a faint sourness putting the suit on but  when I emerged the sourness was all the way turned up and my whole body smelled like athletes foot. I felt like I need to be tested for e-coli.
  • Kids can really feel good vibrations.  Every teacher I encountered said that this is the first mascot visit that didn’t elicit screams of terror from the tots.  #pureloveoverhere

Can’t give you pictures of me as Rocky the reading rodent because I can’t associate my (perhaps) off colored ramblings with my Library’s image but I can assure you I came, I waved, I Rockied the house.

Raccoon w bow

I make this look good!

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Pool School

I suppose there’s a metaphor for life lurking in every sport.  How else do we explain so many sports movies? I mean after Rudy and Raging Bull the sports movie machine coulda stopped yes?  But then there was A League of there Own, Cinderella Man…I could go on but I digress.

I swam competitively for a number a years but never did I make as many ah-ha moment connections in all those years of starting blocks, bi-lateral breathing and flip turns as I did in my 45 minutes of pool playing. Felt table, cue balls, triangle thingy. Playing pool.  Maybe it’s just that I’m playing pool with a grown woman’s perspective and frame of reference whereas I was swimming pools as a youngun and a teen.

I’m no expert pool player by far–about a thousand 100 meter pool lengths away from being an expert.  But I’ll say this.  I have the makings of being not half bad.  I didn’t play competitively, just did a couple of rounds of clearing  the table.  Each time it took me about 5 minutes less.

Now, the following aren’t Eckhart Tolle-Oprah-scream-worthy ah-ha moments, (if you’re into that sorta thing) but they did occur to me during shooting:

Focus:  When you intensely zero in on your shot/goal and put your energy into making it happen–more often than not it happens.

Put in the work:  Sometimes there were shots that required stretching and bending and I soo didn’t feel like contorting.  But, you guessed it, when I got on tip toes, stretched across the table and went after a shot in less obvious ways, it usually paid off.

Stick-to-it: Stay with the shot.  The times that I had the perfect shot lined up but was too hasty and over confident in my approach, I didn’t sink the ball.  The times that I focused, put that focused energy into the shot and followed all the way through? Sink city baby.

Be resourceful:  That square chalk thingy that the cool pool guys/gals in the movie rub on the end of the stick –its actually very useful.  When I just felt like no matter what I did the stick wasn’t hitting the ball squarely I grabbed the chalk and (probably more vigorously and theatrically than necessary) I got to rubbing.  Next shot? Sunk.

Pray: Some of the shots looked impossible.  But I focused, put in the work, stuck with the shot, used the right resource, whispered a prayer and…missed. Big. But I made the next one 😀

Yes, I’m a library lady.*

I knew that pursuing a career in Library Sciences would likely have some Rodney Dangerfield-esque consequences to it.  Say it with me kids… “I get no respect!”  But I did it any way ’cause I’m bad ass like that and because I really loved what libraries did for me as a youth.  As if books!! on books!! on books!! weren’t enough, they also had cool programs, free plays/performances, story telling, classes, poetry readings, art shows, etc.  I always felt at home in a library.

Fast forward 20 or so years, I have the requisite degree–A Masters in Library Science, I work in my local Central branch and I often get met with the terms of disrespect (henceforth referred to as T.O.D.) that I anticipated about my line of work.  Usually its something like; “Don’t you just shelve books all day?” or “Librarian? Isn’t that boring?!”

I usually don’t sweat it because on some level I knew it’d be par for the course and mostly it comes from people who really don’t use the library and therefore don’t see the value it brings to the community.   Normally I just use that as a teaching moment and fill the person in about library awesomeness.  But there was a recent incident in which an intelligent, learned person (who used library services often) uttered the T.O.D. in these particular words: “Degree?! You need a degree to put books in alphabetical order?!”

This was a pat your weave moment boys and girls.  I guess you could say those were the T.O.D. that broke the camel’s back.

After my weave was sufficiently patted, I explained to the young woman that the degree was needed to do a myriad of other things that we library ladies* (and fellas) are charged with doing.  I’ll illustrate below.

Lets just get this one outta the way:

Yes, some Librarians do shelve books.

But we also do this:

A library is an agency–an institution, it needs to be managed. Librarians manage them doing things like accounting, acquisitions etc.

What are they doing? Why they’re being librarians! Cataloging and classifying all kinds of resources from personal papers to books to music, film etc.

Librarians can also work in a limited curator’s capacity as many libraries host art installations.

Librarians frequently teach, train and present to the public as well as to colleagues.

Librarians often digitize resources as we move into a largely electronic resource era.

Project management is a very common duty for librarians.

Not to mention research, outreach, story time, teen and adult programming etc.  Just thought I’d give folks something to think about.  I don’t expect to change the perception of librarians overnight.  It’s enough that I love what I do (88% of the time) and that I’m rockin with the late, great Rodney D!

Loved that guy!

*Since folks like to deal in archetypes, think lunch lady but subtract the hair net and add glasses and a sweater—now I will admit that I do stay with a sweater on my shoulders. Its cold in here!

Anatomy of a hero: Notes from an Emotional Intelligence training.

Hiya you throngs of people you! 😀

OK so today I attended a training at work called Emotional Intelligence.  If you’re thinking it’s a Oprah-ish, new agey, What-Color-is-Your-Parachute kinda deal, you’re right.   Not to trivialize it, I did gain some good Ah-ha-moment! insights in the session but  those are for my thoughts only…I don’t Ah-ha! and tell.   What kinda girl do you think I am?  But here are 3 that I’m willing to part with:

  1. Emotional Intelligence trainers who look like AND have the affectations of Richard Dreyfuss (and thereby have you thinking about What About Bob the entire session) are distracting.
  2. Some phone apps still make noise—loud noise even though you’ve silenced your phone. My bad.
  3. Librarians are an Emotionally challenged bunch! Breathe! Do the Harlem Shake! Give a hug! Receive a hug! Something! Dang!

Lastly,  I will leave you with one helpful exercise that Dreyfuss had us do.  He instructed us to think back on those ‘heroes’ in our lives that really inspired us or made an impression on us and isolate the characteristic in them that we liked/admired.  Give this one a try!

Here’s my short list:

  • My Grandmother– Powerful love
  • My Mama– Superhuman selflessness
  • Sister Vanessa (pre-school teacher at my Elementary school)- Kindness and grace under fire
  • Lady J. Boone– Excellent Listener
  • Mrs. Parker (7th grade teacher)- Nurtured all students, not just the squeaky wheels
  • Ummi– The picture of patience
  • My Big Sister– Responsible before her time…

So many others (lots of women huh?), not enough space.  Who are your heroes and why?

Until next time…

Give me! Give Me! I need! I need!!!!

A Sunshine Award on a cloudy day!

Hi guys!

I have been M.I.A. and was actually kicking around the idea of going black (no racist) permenently.  Yup I was gonna fold up my lil’ popsicle stand and go back to a life sans blogging.

Imagine my surprise when in a chance checking of my WP stats and comments I spotted a little missive from a fellow blogger, Aquah *Lekker* Garla, a “free spirited, adventurous African girl” with a sparkly pink blog packed with insight, (African!)  fashion and humor.  Miss Aquah bestowed me with the following honor and as such I will do 3 things; proudly place the Sunshine award icon on my page, pay it forward by sprinkling around a few awards of my own and lastly I’ll inwardly pledge to get back in the blogging saddle…because what was I thinking ‘abandoning writing’? I’ve always been better with pen and paper…

Thanks for tuning in 🙂

Here are the instructions to receive and nominate others:

  • Include the award’s logo in a post on your blog
  • Answer 1o questions about yourself
  • Nominate 10 other bloggers
  • Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs, letting them know they have been nominated
  • Share the love and link the person who nominated you!

Q & A on yours trulay (still can’t resist bustin a rhyme):

  1. My favourite color: BLUE…Bleu…BloO
  2. My favourite animal: I don’t desire to be up close and personal with any animal.  Many of them are beautiful from afar but favorite animal? To do what with? Really question makers? Really?
  3. My favourite number: Huh? Ok I’ll play along. 2.
  4. My favourite drink: Water
  5. Facebook or Twitter: FB
  6. My passion: It waxes and wanes but I’ll always come back to writing…
  7. Prefer giving or getting presents:  I love them both equally. Today I’m in a getting mood. Why?? Whatcha got?
  8. My favorite pattern: I love a good plaid.  Not to wear, just to look at.
  9.  My favorite day of the week: Friday
  10. My favorite flower: I love a good sunflower

Here are 10 bloggers that I think you all should check out! (in no particular order):

Anansi The Poet keeping poetry alive…

Picki Niki eat (or pick) vicariously thru Niki!

Grown and Curvy Woman  She’s a breath of fresh air!

The Proverbial Lonewolf Librarian He’s got great little digestable chunks of info perfect for my (quicky) professional developement needs!

Chocolate and Raspberries When I’m feeling unabashedly girly I go here 🙂

Topicless bar  :)!

A Writer’s Voyage Fantastic voyage…Hope She come back and drops a few lines soon!

Life after injury. Determination required.

Hi guys,

I know it’s been a minute. I promise I haven’t been resting on my VBA laurels 😀 Interestingly enough I sustained a knee injury (torn ligament) the very same day that I got the award and I honestly haven’t felt like writing.  Ironically I have PLENTY to say because this down time–literally I’m doing a lot of laying down, sitting down and almost falling down—has afforded me soooo many insights.

I’ll enumerate just a few and hopefully I’ll get around to crafting the post centered around the fun run (Dirty Girl Mud Run) where I sustained the injury.

1) Sometimes in life you have to be a “burden”.  Let someone else do the heavy lifting and ask for help.  This has always been  hard for me to do—to “inconvenience” someone”— but life is about give and take.  One day you’re giving, the next receiving (if you go ‘there’you need Jesus).

2) Live strong every day. Now that I’m laid up or ‘sick and shut in’ as one friend called it, I’m filled with aspirations and ideas for leading a healthier, more active life when I regain my mobility (read: walk without crutches).  Where were these ideals when I was fully mobile?  If you’re in relatively good health, use it. I just did yoga on crutches.  Baby steps…

image from theadventureblog.blogspot.com

3) Celebrate the small victories.  I guarantee they’ll fuel your fervor to rise to the next challenge.  I was a little bummed because I was having a hard time ‘crutching’ up the steps, going down is no problem.  I finally decided to scoot but then I’d have to call my kids to bring the crutches up for me.  Well recently I  modified my scoot where I can push the crutches up the steps beside me! There’s that hard-time-asking-for-help thing 🙂 Next challenge:  Baking while crutching.  I’m dying to try these recipes. Like peanut butter much?

Anyway these were a few of the Eureka moments I’ve had.  In due time I’ll be back to blogging more frequently and honoring my Dewey-A-Day promise.

If you checked for me, thanks for checkin’ for me 😉  Anyone out there ever sustained a debilitating  injury?  How did you cope? Oh and here’s a lovely, video I just came across.  Determination required.

Asha

Life on Tuesday got nominated for a Versatile Blogger Award!!!

This was such a pleasant surprise!!! Thanx a million to Miss Jey over at http://missjeyonline.wordpress.com.  She’s got a whip smart fashion blog over there.  She’ll make a fashionista of you yet! 😀

When given this honor you, the bestowed upon,  have to do a few things.  With VBA-dom comes great responsibility. I aint mad.

Here are the rules for the award:

1.Add the award to your blog.
2.Thank the blogger who gave it to you and include a link to their blog.
3.Mention 7 random things about yourself.
4.List the rules.
5.Give the award to 15 or more bloggers

Here are 7 random things about me:

1) I’m not a good gossiper.  Good gossiping requires the gossiper to remember details about past gossip sessions.  I’m horrible at remembering details.

2) I have my own crayons and coloring books (off limits to my kids).  They’re my Rx for stress relief.

3) I have a huge bag (the kind you get from Ikea) filled with un-matched socks. What gives?

4) I have a re-occurring dream about my high school English class.  The details are fuzzy though.  Told ya I suck at details.

5) I still have trouble remembering my 7 times tables.

6) I have a grandma named Queenie and a grandma named Clementine.  Both missed and loved with all my heart…

7) I’m not. that. innocent.

Be sure to check out these 17 Bloggers I’ve nominated:

  1. http://mooretalkja.wordpress.com/ Hilarity and sage insights in Jamaican patois! Doesn’t get any better.
  2. http://patrickandersonjr.com/ This young man can write. If I do say so myself.
  3. http://variegatedstacks.wordpress.com/ My old school chum, a cataloging librarian. She’s living the dream! And blogging about it!
  4. http://k1ngeljay.com/ Music reviews.  Smart music reviews.
  5. http://thegangstayogiizthembinakea.wordpress.com  She’s got heart and soul…
  6. http://bethtourek.com/ Good stuff here. Unwanted house guest? Pshaw! Come over anytime!
  7. http://mysoulforsale.wordpress.com/ Sharp reporting from the front lines of cubicle-dom.
  8. http://newswithnipples.com/ She’s giving the people what they want…and slipping them what they need.
  9. http://ellayourbella.wordpress.com/  Carrie Bradshaw meets…Janey Glenn? This girl has a lotta fun. And writes about it pretty good too.
  10. http://earthcandyarts.wordpress.com/ She’s granola chick 2.0.
  11. http://tillimfamous.com/ Good vibrations.
  12. http://grammaticallybuffpoems.wordpress.com/ Funny, punny poems.
  13. http://beckyyk.wordpress.com/ She’s clever with the Photoshop.
  14. http://loveinshallah.com/ Muslim love stories.
  15. http://crustula.wordpress.com/ Funny guy + Smart guy (pop culture student guy) = this guy
  16. http://visitingmissouri.net He’s from across the pond somewheres and he’s musing on life in the USof A. And I like it.
  17. http://apocketfulofnotes.com/ She’s sweet and sage.

Subway escapades and books to boot…or read.

Welcome to another edition of…Three-random-thoughts-on-the-subway-Thursday’s!

  1. Oh my God! Is that Paul Giamatti! OMG I  love him!! Is it? Could it be?  Nah. This is Atlanta.
  2. Wait. Can these people hear that I’m listening to Maxwell? I don’t want them to see me/hear me listening to Maxwell. What will they think if they can hear my Maxwell?
  3. Oh Lord! This dude beside me didn’t assume the herky-jerky-train-stance! If this dude falls on me it’s gonna be a problem! Dangit!
For more subway fare (Get it?! Subway fare :D) visit here.  Photo’s by Kubrick.  Stanley Kubrick.  Once there check out the 2nd shot for an illustration of the herky-jerky-train-stance:  feet shoulder width apart with a slight lean forward, to anticipate sudden movements and prepare to brace

Sure the Feeble 5 can be on the train, but not Paul Giamatti. Maybe he's filming Sideways 2. Hope so!

And now for the book love!

Day/titles 108-110

At the request of my blog buddy Sel, here are some works by African authors. Lottery be darned! I run this!! 😀

Short read but oh so engaging!

Short stories. Every one of them worth the price of admission but 'Luxurious Hearses'...grabs you and transfixes you. You are there.

Oyeyemi knows how to tell a tale that will scare the pants off you.

Google me graciously. Please and Thank you.

According to several reports, would-be/could-be/should-be employers are looking at your social media career—because lets face it, your social media activity is your own little PR machine with you (for better or for worse) at the helm—to inform their decision of whether to hire you or not.

Would you be mine? Could you be mine? Won't you be my employer?

It was with that in mind that I decided to put together this little missive; a guide, if you will, with hopes that said employers will catch wind, take heed and cut us some slack.  Catch. Take. Cut.  May this entry strike one huge blow for us job seekers.

Dear Employers,

When snooping investigating the background of potential employees, particularly me:

You might see this:   But this is what you SHOULD see:
  • A blog post or Facebook status ripping current job or current employer
  • A blog post or Facebook status ripping current job or employer with perfect grammar. Good grammar is hard to come by.
  • A picture of job seeker in seemingly compromising position with questionable individuals
  • A successfully uploaded picture of job seeker in seemingly compromising position with questionable individuals.  You’d be surprised how many people can’t upload.
  • A jobseeker with a profile on EVERY social networking site from Meebo, to Myspace, to Badoo, to Hi5…
  • A jobseeker who has been navigating these interwebs since the heyday of Meebo, MySpace, Baboo and Hi5. Computer proficient? Check! Social butterfly/good communicator? Check!

You get the idea.  During your nosing around investigation you might see things that suggest immature, wildcard, capricious…  I beg you, put on your rose colored glasses and see instead creative, innovative and spirited! Arguably creative people are the life blood of any organization.  Ask red-headed, enterprising,  Aubrey O’Day from Celebrity Apprentice (not blond tantalizing Aubrey O’day from Danity Kane).

The takeaway: have a heart.  Say to that deserving young slacker, diamond-in-the-rough, YOU’RE HIRED.  You won’t regret it!

Only a creative person could come up with positive words to describe this hair.

Days/Titles 104-107

Check em out out, buy em, download em. Give these books some love!

It’s gross. But it’s tastefully gross.

Welcome to another edition of Things-that-make-you-go-hmmm-Thursdays!

So I was watching TV the other day and happened to hear an insect exterminator commercial (Won’t mention the company name.  My influence is far too great.  This blog reaches 1’s of 10’s of people) talking about how ants and other insects will excrete a trail of some kinda substance so other’s of their ilk can find their way to whatever booty they’ve discovered (those sour patch kids in the bottom of your purse, the apple core that your son cleverly stuffed between the couch cushions).  Their philosophy: It aint no fun if the homies can’t have none.

Now animals and humans  have a lot of commonalities.  We’re both fiercely protective of our young,  we both hunt and gather and hibernate in the winter.  But if we humans ever adopted this practice from the insect/animal kingdom it wouldn’t be pretty.  In fact it’d look a little something like this:

OMG Cheryl!  I just caught the cutest pumps on sale at DSW©! Just follow my trail of pee and it’ll lead you right to ’em!!

OR

Ay  dawg! They got Assassin’s Creed III© on sale at GameStop©! If you hurry you can catch the fart—or expelled flatus as my aunt would say (told ya it was tasteful)—trail I left for you!

No bueno. I’m just sayin.

********************************

Day/title 103

Ryoko, a manga character from a manga world, falls through the Rip into the “real” world — the Western world — and tries to survive as the ultimate outsider at a typical American high school. From barrylyga.com