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Archive for September, 2008

Please Bury Me in the Library

Found this poem the other day and I love it…it’s called Please Bury Me in the Library by J. Patrick Lewis from his book by the same name:

Please bury me in the library

In the clean, well-lighted stacks

Of Novels, History, Poetry,

Right next to the Paperbacks,

 

Where the Kids’ Books dance

With True Romance

And the Dictionary dozes.

Please bury me in the library

With a dozen long-stemmed proses.

 

Way back by a rack of Magazines,

I won’t be sad too often,

If they bury me in the library

With Bookworms in my coffin.

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Yeah…sorry about that, but I have been barreling my way through all of Jen Lancaster’s books.

Although I don’t agree with her politics, the woman makes me guffaw (that’s right, that’s what I said…guffaw). You can check out her website for a quick synopsis of all her books (be sure to watch the video!) and also read her blog.

As a side note, for some reason my library only saw fit to order ONE copy of her first book and I am number nine on the hold list. How tempted am I to use my librarian super powers for evil right now and cancel all the other holds ahead of mine? Very.

Of course, I imagine Jen (oh yeah, we are so on a first name basis…) would say to me, “Just shell out the $14 and buy a damn copy you cheapskate!” Only with many, many more curse words in there, of course.

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Two very wrong situations at the library recently:

     1.) A young boy comes running in and heads for the new children’s books. He is followed by his annoyed grandmother who yells, “NO BOOKS! You can’t get any books, only videos!”             

     Poor little kid. He got the short straw for a grandparent. (I should note that this boy, who is about seven years old, always says, “Hello, how are you?” and “Thank you very much” to the circulation clerks…he’s a real gentleman).

     2.) A very cute toddler is wandering around the library wearing nothing but a diaper. Mom is sitting at a table up front on her cell phone and doesn’t seem to care that her child is sitting on the floor (the floor of a busy public library) nearly naked and all alone. The kid is picking up litter off the floor and putting it in his mouth. When informed of this situation, she yells at one of her older (meaning about age five) kids to go get the child. The older sister then grabs the toddler’s arm and starts pulling causing, naturally, quite a loud struggle.              

     Rinse and repeat this scenario. I think you should have to be licensed before you are allowed to be a parent.

 

Finally, this situation is kind of sad, really: A nice little boy, around age six, regularly comes into the library alone around 3:00 p.m. He sits at a table, pulls out his backpack and doodles until 5:30 p.m. when his mother arrives from work to pick him up. It just seems sad that the library is his default day care center.

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Something has been chomping on my outdoor (recently freed) cecropia caterpillars. At first, I thought it must be the marauding packs of house sparrows, which seem to pick the yard clean of anything that moves. Yesterday, however, I discovered the true fiend: yellow jacket wasps (insert dramatic music crescendo here).

They will search out the feeding caterpillars and fly in and nip off a bite. It looks like they start on the knobs and then start taking chunks out of the meaty bits. Now, having worked as a naturalist and also as a volunteer at a wildlife rehabilitation center, my “ick” reflex is pretty strong (try having a sick woodchuck sneeze green snot all over YOUR face…) but being slowly eaten alive by wasps…ICK!!!

Not a pretty way to go. And the caterpillar ooze (oh, sure, that’s the scientific name…just as “thingy” and “whatchamahoozit” are valid, too) is a horrible black, tarry mess.

Still, I am hoping some survive, as there is just no way to protect these wild caterpillars from everything out to get them. I still have about twelve I am continuing to raise inside, so keep your fingers crossed.

—As a side note, one year when I was in high school, a yellow jacket queen made her nest up against one of the windows in my room that was missing a screen and was always covered up by curtains (it looked directly out and into the neighbors house less than four feet away). In a few months, it became quite a large nest and I had an actual cross-section view into it whenever I lifted the cutains…very cool! Wish I had taken some pictures back then.            

—I’m just glad the nest wasn’t as big as these monster ones. Look at the one in the car!

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Just so you know: caterpillars are high maintenance pets! When they were little, all I had to do was put in some fresh branches and change the paper towels every few days. Now, I am lucky if I don’t have to put in MORE branches 12 hours later in the day. (The caterpillars are up to about 4 inches in length).

Getting Big

Getting Big

It’s a good thing that so many wild caterpillars get eaten or we would have denuded trees!

Also, as the caterpillars grow so does the size of their frass (poop). And it’s kinda stinky, which surprised me as it’s just processed plant materials…     I wonder if the frass is good to fertilize the garden?

Frass in one hand and wish in the other....

Frass in one hand and wish in the other....

I have had fun observing my cecropia moth caterpillars grow but I am ready to let them go. Tonight I set free about 10 of them onto our backyard lilac bush. Sadly, many of the ones I let go last week have been eaten but such is they way of things. One fell off (I am guessing) and was found on the ground half eaten by ants.

One thing you must have to raise these guys: patience. You cannot simply pluck them off a branch, as they will hold onto a branch until their little claspers break off (no, I have not done this, but trust me, it can happen). You have to coax them onto another branch or your hand to move them. And they are not very speedy.

A hungry caterpillar can be motivated to move toward a fresh leaf, though. I have no idea how they detect their food source (smell or some version of it??) but they can locate fresh leaves from across one side of the cage and will move rapidly toward them.

Here are some pictures of the cage I came up with: a large, plastic flower pot covered with flexible screen mesh.

            

Also, be sure not to disturb them when they are resting and getting ready to shed their skin. They will jerk their body from side to side if you (or another caterpillar) accidentally bump them. You might be able to see the silk pad they use to anchor themselves to a branch (or the top of the cage, in my case) when they are in this resting phase. They sometimes hold themselves in what I like to call the Mr. Burns pose (a la The Simpsons), with their head extended back and legs curled up together.

Silk pad

Silk pad

 

Excellent!

Excellent!

It’s interesting how many variations there are in their color and shading as they grow bigger. The younger ones are a deep leaf green and then turn yellow green to milky green. Then their knob (hur hur) colors change from red to orange.

Now orange!

Now orange!

 

Big Fella

Big Fella

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Aaak! It's Zombie Patrons from Hell!

I must first confess that I am not THE actual snarky librarian…you should check out this very funny blog instead, if that’s what you are looking for.

No, this is just a continuation of the previous snarky themes here in my blog. Tonight was a doozy…

Look, with my background I am usually the first one to support science inquiry. And, “yay, you” for studying outside of school. But, no, you cannot construct a mini wrecking ball in between the shelves of the Children’s Area and block all access down that aisle…(using, mind you, stacks of hastily pulled books to weigh down the top of the yard stick) and then experiment with knocking down different sizes of books. No.

The teacher/tudor/supposed adult did not see my logic, leading me to wish I could do a few experiments in force/motion myself right then…

Also, another bike was stolen tonight. I think the image from the security camera is very nice: the bike being taken as it rests right against the sign that says, in all caps: “LOCK YOUR BIKES; BIKES ARE BEING STOLEN.” Guess whose daddy stormed in to complain about the theft? Yes, the man driving the Hummer. Can’t afford the $10 lock, huh?

Finally, we had a mom with a straggling toddler who just couldn’t seem to make it to the checkout counter before closing time (even though we do announce it over the PA system at fifteen minutes & five minutes till). OK, that happens. But then she proceeds to plop 12 DVDs on the counter along with a stack of books, some of which need to be renewed and fines paid, & oh, she has some books on hold to pick-up, too.

So, now we are all waiting. We can’t lock up until she leaves, so this other family comes walking in, saying they just need to drop off some books. Sure, OK, fine, drop your books and vamoose. But, nooooo. They now want me to find a mystery book for their tween son who doesn’t like to read and what would I recommend…

When I explain that we are now 15 minutes past our closing time and that I would be happy to take her name and get back with her tomorrow on that, she gets huffy. She strides off through the stacks saying she’ll just find something on her own.

Yeah…I don’t think so. You know, it’s amazing how dark the stacks are when you turn off all the lights at once. Yes, I am an SOB. But it felt good to do it. Tee hee!

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I love county fairs. They seem so quintessentially Midwestern and are great places to people watch. Besides, I can get my fill of chickens and goats…wheee!

And my fill of fair food…let’s see we ate sugar waffles, elephant ears, kettle corn, corn dogs, and sweet tea. (Yes, that sound you heard was our respective digestive systems crying out for mercy).

This year we went to the Fulton County Fair, which was much bigger and better than I expected. We had a great time but were a bit wilted by the 90 degree heat. Here are some pics from that day:

Not too happy to be at the fair

Not too happy to be at the fair

a very large rabbitt

a very large rabbitt

with fins!

with fins!

1967 tractor grill front

1957 tractor grill front

Goose!

Goose!

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