Sunday, January 31, 2010

Day 31

Borders Part II

If you didn't read Part I of the Borders saga, I recommend doing so before reading Part II!

So, after receiving some donation money this week, I "had" to make a trip to the bookstore to buy some books. Now, this is usually a very fun thing to do, however, knowing that Border's was the only bookstore that was anywhere near me today, I had to go back (even though I said I wouldn't).

You can probably guess the first shelf I checked out... and yep, right there neatly tucked between Harper and Henkes was the infamous Princess Hyacinth book. Two copies, of course, right where they should be. My instinct is that these books were in the supposed non-existent "back" because I"m pretty sure they weren't strewn all though the other shelves. Keep track of your books, people! That's all I'm going to say.

Oh, ok, one more rant about Borders is that it's starting to look like a toy store in the children's department. Srsly! Why so many toys in a BOOK STORE? Ugh!!!! Does anyone else find this totally disturbing??

Day 30

525,600 minutes... How do you measure, measure a year? In daylights? In sunsets? In midnights? In cups of coffee? In inches? In miles? In laughter? In strife? In 525,600 minutes...

For all of you "muggles" out there, if you haven't figured it out yet, the title of my blog comes from the lyrics of one of my favorite songs in my favorite musical of all time, RENT. I have seen RENT 8 or 9 times...I've lost count...Twice on Broadway in New York and several CLO performances here in Pittsburgh, but every time I see it, I see it in a different way. It's a very alternative kind of show, but the music is stellar.

Last night (after a delicious dinner at Sonoma Grille), Katie, Tim, Kevin and I saw a smaller non-Broadway cast that performed at the Byham Theater, but it still wasn't disappointing. While we all agreed that Mimi's part was a little lackluster, the other characters were energetic and had such great voices. The character of Maureen is usually shadowed by Mimi, but I have a whole new appreciation for her.

So, eight times. Did I still cry at the part when Angel dies? Yes. Did I mouth the words to almost every song? Of course. I will never forget the first time I saw the show in the New Amsterdam Theater in Times Square when I REALLy cried when Angel dies, but RENT still reminds me how to spend those 525,600 minutes and live like there's "no day but today."

Friday, January 29, 2010

Day 29

Lights. Camera. Action? Even though this isn't MY photo from today (h/t Chris Stengel), I figured I should use it to document the day.

Datum, the company that manufactures our laptop carts wanted to do a photo shoot and get some video testimonials about the ease of maneuvering the carts and how the students use them in school. It was a fun shoot and the images of the cart in the library are awesome. (I'll let you see the brochure when it's done.)

Lesson learned: I am much more comfortable behind the camera. :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 27

Book Buck Store Day! Today was Day 1 of our book store and second grade and fourth grade got to "buy" one of the brand new books. They actually "bought" the right to be the first one to check it out. I made dedication stickers with their names on it to put inside and when they are done the students will do a book talk project to get others to check it out too. These second graders will make PowerPoints to share with their class.

The students love Book Store Day because they "finally" get to see the new books and have one with their name in it, but I love it because the kids get so into it. The sharing and the discussions are just what every librarian wants. What's even better is that I saw one of THE most reluctant second grade boys carrying around his book all day and his nose was buried in it when I walked by him after school. Awesome.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 26

My sister had a book growing up called The Valentine's Day Grump. Now, I'm no grump, but I think it's a totally overrated holiday. However, what's even more annoying is the amount of Peanuts paraphernalia that pops up around this time of year. Who made the Peanuts the national spokespersons of Valentine's Day? What is cute about a dog on a pointy dog house? Or a boy with a dirty blanket?

I snapped this picture of the card section while I waited for the nice lady to blow up the mylar balloons I need for my lesson tomorrow. There are only six cards in this shot, but believe me, there were DOZENS more Peanuts cards in the isle. I'd say at least 30. 50 maybe.

Perhaps I should go into the card making business...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Day 25

Today's 365 Challenge focused on intersecting lines, so I decided to photograph these tiles hanging in my dining room. I acquired them at the antique flea market in Washington County a few years ago. It comes around the last Sunday of the month from May-November. I love going to this seller because he has hundreds of tiles and they are all so interesting. Even though my style is much more contemporary, I love these and think they are worth every penny I paid (even though I have to straighten them every time I use the garage door opener...which is every day...).

I recommend clicking on the picture to get the real view...the 12 megapixel view...especially to see the middle tile.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 24

Over 120 Foster family members gathered at Carnegie Music Hall to see Jeff Kinney, author and illustrator of the Diary of A Wimpy Kid books. There were crafts, snacks, book sales and book signings. It was a whole day of celebrating reading and my heart was bursting! I couldn't believe the families that stuck around to have their books signed because their kids HAD to collect signed books!

Thanks, Mr. Kinney, for helping to build readers--especially out of the reluctant ones!

Day 23

This is not the shot I wanted to get for today, but to prevent a massive u-turn at The Waterfront, it was the best I could do.

The smokestacks that welcome visitors to The Waterfront are always eye-catching. Of course, what was not so appealing was our hour-long wait at Rock seating isn't so effective in that situation. The Titan Toothpicks made up for it, though.

Day 22

This post is dedicated to Stampy!

For his birthday, a lot of us went to Lidia's for dinner. If you haven't been there, it's highly recommended. This photo is a close-up of the chandelier inside. It's amazing.

We also went to The Firehouse and Embury in the basement of The Firehouse. They make "hand-crafted" cocktails all from scratch. It was an intimate space and everything was delicious. Check out the web site!

Day 21

I tutor a LOT of students in the school neighborhood. It takes up a lot of time, but it's always worth it. It was especially worth it at Caroline's because in third grade, she received a lot of D's in she is in fifth grade and got all A's this nine weeks. She even asked me if she thought she could qualify for honors math!! This was a snapshot of our work this week...and yes, I let her use a calculator to check her work!! :-)

Day 20

The 365 post for Wednesday was to have a camera in the photo. Well, during lunch the fifth graders and I Skyped our friend, Kaylee, who recently moved to Maryland. I just happened to snap the photo while she was showing us some of the effects on here computer!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day 19

Today's 365 challenge was to take a picture of a mode of transportation. I decided to take a photo of the LOSER who tailed me (I mean our bumpers were almost touching) the entire way from Mt. Lebanon to Bridgeville. Does anyone recognize this red jeep?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Day 18

Last week I read a story about hibernation to the kindergarten classes. One of the animals it mentioned was the ladybug. Under my breath I said, "I think all of the ladybugs are hibernating in MY house." The girl in the front screamed out, "You must be the luckiest person in the world! Ladybugs are lucky!" No doubt I'm lucky in a lot of ways, but NO ONE wants to be THIS "lucky."

The 365 challenge today was to take an interesting picture from a minimalist perspective. This is one of the dozen or so ladybugs gracing me with its luck. The bad news is that it looks like this bug doesn't have good luck at it seems to be eating one of its legs...

Anyone know of a good way to get rid of these Asian Lady Beetles?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Day 17

First of all, thank you all for your concerned comments and emails. The end of the world didn't come on Friday...I just got lazy and didn't post over the weekend...I took the pictures, though, so now you can be all caught up with my life! :-)

Today I spent some time painting with my little two year old buddy, Liam. While I cringed when he mixed the yellow brush with all of the other colors (I have always been VERY careful not to mix colors!), the new colors are pretty cool. I think our work turned out well!

Day 16

L.L. Bean is an inspiring store. I always feel so ambitious and want to kayak and camp and snowshoe that same day. The feeling subsides as soon as I leave, though. I didn't buy new hiking/geocaching boots like I wanted to, but this is the giant signature boot outside of the store. It's just what I want to look at while I'm eating at The Cheesecake Factory right across the walkway.

Day 15

After some careful thought, I decided I should TRY to incorporate some of the "real" rules of the 365 challenge when possible, so here is a good example. I grabbed this shot of converging lines while one of the second graders was enjoying a book at the end of one of the aisles in the library.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day 14

Hoarding wine corks has been a hobby of mine for about five years. There are hundreds in this hurricane vase...and dozens more in a bag in the pantry. (I don't drink THAT much wine...people just give them to me now!)

At first, I just liked them as decoration. Then I thought about making trivets, but didn't. Then wanted the corks as a border through my kitchen, but didn't do it. My new desire is to string these together to make this cork wreath. Cool, huh? See me in five more years!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 13

Day 13 ... Unlucky 13. Today lived up to the reputation and was an all-around annoying day.

The best thing about the day was when the custodian returned the "taker" that I randomly found over the break (and made it functional with a hinge) during lunch, and the third graders were pretending to be in Hollywood on American Idol. They even wrote songs to "perform." It was adorable.

I don't always love giving up my lunch time to watch dozens of students experiment and create and read and play in the library. But on days like today, I know I would be foolish not to give them those opportunities.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 12

Today was the first formal day of our 4th grade podcast show. The students wrote scripts at home this past week and recorded their shows using Audacity during lunch time. I was so excited to hear their creativity and see how they operated the software so proficiently. Some groups did sports updates, some did interviews and others talked about school news. This specific group did an "episode" on candy. It was hilarious! I'd share it, but it's still behind a password. Stay tuned...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 11

su⋅shi [soo-shee]
Japanese Cookery. cold boiled rice moistened with rice vinegar, shaped into bite-size pieces and topped with raw seafood

I'm not really a carnivore. I don't like to eat red meat. Chicken? Sometimes ok. As long as I don't picture it with feathers first. There's something about things being alive and then eating it. I don't know. I'd go vegan if I had any willpower at all.

Now, take that one step further and actually eat something that WAS alive, but not sushi. Blech. I love California rolls (no fish), so I was intrigued when Kevin bought this (see photo) for me over the weekend. It's called Grilled Salmon Sushi. My dinnertime thoughts this evening tried to answer this question: "Can it be 'real' sushi if it's cooked?" Ok, that's not all I thought about. I also wondered why in the world they put that fake grass in the package too. Your thoughts???

PS~It was delicious!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Day 10

I feel like I was betrayed by my best friend. I've been going to the Borders on McKnight Road for as long as it has been there. I've spent thousands and thousands of dollars. They always have what I need, or go out of their way to find it. I used to love going there.

After using the ILL system unsuccessfully (well they had 2/3 books...see yesterday's post) to try and find a book I need for a lesson tomorrow, I tried the local book store as a last resort. I called to make sure they had it in (and there were two copies), and then went this evening to pick it up...and dragged Katie along with me. When we couldn't find it on the shelf, I went to the "customer service" area where a woman confirmed they had two copies and they should be on the shelf. (Big surprise.) So, we ALL went to look for it (again), and she only said, "Well, it's not here on the shelf." (Duh...I already told her that.) I asked if she could check in the back. She said that there wasn't "a back." (Lie.) THEN she had the guts to say, "You can just check all of the books in case it was put back in the wrong spot." ( you know how many books there are here, lady? Are you insane?) Then she walked away.

Am I wrong to feel like I was made to feel I did something wrong? Uh, lady, it's your JOB to at least make an effort to find the book. Or at least offer to order it. Or call another store or SOMEthing. Humor me and say you would check in the back. Pretend. I don't care.

Borders gets a big FAIL for their customer service today. I added a photo of the bag (Katie ended up getting a book) to my 365 to remind myself to skip the middle man and head straight to Barnes and Noble.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Day 9

I am a librarian, but I am not a very good library patron. When I want to read a book, I buy it because I like having books as decorations and it helps me remember what I have read. So it comes as no surprise that I have lived in my house for over five years and never visited my local library. (When I do use a public library, it is the one near school.)

Today was my first trip to the library because I had some books that I need for next week's lessons delivered there. I was pleasantly surprised by the building. It is SMALL (like has probably fewer materials than my elementary school library has), but it's quaint and charming. The main part of the library is actually an old train station (Penn Central) and the children's department is in an old caboose. It was fun to browse around the cozy atmosphere.

Check out your local library. You never know what you might find!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Day 8

Snow day! To me, it was a waste of a snow day because it's not really snowing anymore. However, I'm trying to make the most of it by doing lots of chores and some work. When I ran down to get my laptop out of my car, I noticed that the frost was making some cool designs on the garage door. Today I measure the year in snow days (and how I need to budget my personal days when we're going to school until June 15th!).

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day 7

When I notice how much my kindergarteners love their books, it is a reminder to me why I love my job. It's not an "artsy" photo, but these kids were so excited to come to library of them even said, "I missed 'dis wiberry and I wuv you."

"Measure your life in love."

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Day 6

Today I measure a year in crystals... ice crystals from freezer burn that is. Now, I am the first to admit that I don't really know my way around the kitchen. I don't cook. I don't like to grocery shop. I like to eat out... or eat something that starts in the freezer and ends up in me via the microwave. I'm ok with this. It's other people catching me neglecting kitchen duties that I'm not ok with!

Despite my attempt to go to Damon's for dinner (and trivia) on Saturday night, Kevin brought some food to cook here. While "working," I took a good look in the freezer and realized I had a tupperware box (please note that it was just about the ONLY thing in the freezer) with bread in it from last March. St. Patrick's Day to be exact....My head hangs low.

Tonight was garbage night, so I threw it out...what was left were some really cool crystals. At least something beautiful can come out of my kitchen! :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day 5

How do you measure a year? Today, it was measured in 12 TONS of playground equipment. After some extensive fund raising efforts, we finally received the final two large pieces for the school playground...only to be stored inside until we have some warmer weather. One piece is a large jungle gym and the other is the base for the new swings. Check out the tall speed slide that's on the left...Let's just hope I'm not on recess duty if someone falls from the top!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Day 4

Tonight I had dinner with a friend to exchange some late Christmas gifts. As another avid geocacher, he gave me two geocoins to add to my collection. The top one is a lightbulb and it is very sparkly. The bottom one is a Medusa coin with Greek writing on it. I'm always torn when I receive geocoins as gifts...They are meant to be sent out and tracked as they make their way around the storage space is at a minimum. On the other hand, greedy cachers who DO collect the coins steal them and keep them as their own. I would love to see it travel, though. What would you do?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Day 3

I spent the day today cleaning my gifts out from under the tree, writing a TON of thank you notes and putting SOME of the Christmas decorations away (and cheering the Steelers to a victory), but I won't let go of the pine scent yet. I got this candle at a cute little shop near Deep Creek (Schoolhouse Earth) and will just have to burn it to the bottom as a good excuse to go back next year to get another one! Too bad the pine smell won't help the Steelers get into the playoffs...

Day 2

Oh boy. I'm already behind! I love the idea of looking back over the past 365 days at the end of December, but I'll be happy if I actually have 250 photos! This picture is just a random shot I took with my new Nikon and needed an excuse to post it online. If I was going to take a photo to represent the day, it would be Kevin doing the island biking on WiiFit...or a photo of the people who were trying to sit in the reclining seats at the movie theater when we went to go and see Up In The Air. :-)

Day 1

The new year began with a great dinner made by Kevin (quail, whipped sweet potatoes with brown sugar and walnuts, risotto) and some homemade creme brulee. Thanks to Kevin for a fun Christmas present! :-) We had a lot of fun with the torch! Here is the recipe we used (and took the advice of the first comment) . Hopefully it won't be this time next year before I (well, we) make it again!!!

Here's to hoping 2010 is the best year yet!!