Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Road Trip Day 1--Canyon Country, CA to Santa Rosa, NM

The tally for today's mileage is 889 miles. It was a long haul today but I am more than half way to Idabel, OK where I hope to arrive tomorrow. This is the second time that I have traveled I-40. This morning I left my apartment at about 4:30 and arrived here in New Mexico at 6:30 Mountain Time.
I made brief stops in ???Springs,Needles, Flagstaff and Grants. I passed the time by listening to Conception by Kalisha Buckhanon. I like to listen to audio books that are outside my usual genre selections. Conception was interesting. The story follows the soul of the fetus and the life of the her 15 year old inner-city Chicago mother. Although this is the 4th conception of the soul, she has never been successfully birthed. The concept was very interesting and intriguing.
I began to feel fairly loopey at the end of the day so I pulled in to Santa Rosa and got a motel for the night. I was pretty hungry after I checked in. While I was updating my mom, I scoped out what was available. About 50 feet up the street was Long John Silvers and KFC. Across the 4 lane road was the Route 66 Cafe, down the road about 300 feet was McDonald's. At first I decided on KFC because it was the closest and they have a low calorie pulled chicken BBQ sandwich. I ordered the sandwich but when they made it I realized that it was fried chicken pieces soaked in BBQ sauce. Huh? The option was no longer low calorie so I asked for a refund. I decided to jog across the street to the cafe. I chose the red chili with tortilla without much hope. After my first bite, I was so glad that the KFC sandwich turned out to be a dud. This chili was fantastic, the heat caught me off guard at first but in the end, I was sold. I told the waitress that I loved the chili. She said that she would tell Grandma that I like the chili. Grandma? I asked. Yes, Grandma that I saw crocheting a lace doily when I arrived is the chili cook. Grandma worked magic with her chili as certainly only grandmas can! If you are ever in Santa Rosa, New Mexico I recommend Grandma's chili but be prepared for a decent bite.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Random Thoughts

It is Saturday and I am happy to have the day off. I went shopping earlier to pick up some stuff for the road trip to Oklahoma. I am taking my mom's Mother's Day Gift with me so I filled the solar light garden globes with slippers, a Collision Kit for the glove box and some other practical things.
I am trying a set of orthotics that I picked up at Target. I hope it helps my heel spur. I can't believe how gullible I am with this heel spur. I wore flat shoes yesterday that didn't hurt for the first 5 or 6 hours. After work I was in pretty big pain, popped a Tylonol 600 and rested with my foot elevated the rest of the evening. This morning I woke up with a tight tendon but as I walked around the apartment all was better. By 8:15 I was wondering if somehow my heel spur healed in the night. I put on my running shoeing so be sensible to go shopping. About an hour into the trip, my heel is hurting. Not gone, still here. I know better, why do I always think that this time this time it might be gone? I guess I am an optimist in the end.
Yesterday was one of those rare days when I got positive feedback from customers. One customer told me that she was impressed with the way I handled two difficult patrons last week. And then later that afternoon one of our regulars said that my staff and I always handled everyone well no matter how difficult that they can be. It is nice to be appreciated.
I have been reading about emotional intelligence lately and I feel that this is really helping deal with toxic people and to be more empathic with them.
One of my regular customers works at night at Walmart down here but lives up in the Antelope Valley. He doesn't have a car so he ends up spending his days in the library when he works two or more days in a row. He reads his Bible, naps, gets up goes for lunch, comes back reads some, naps some and then goes to work. He was so excited that the was finally caught up enough that he could buy a car that one of his co-workers was selling. He got the car and then about a week later he is back in the library. He said he was sold a lemon and the engine blew. How awful is that? When you are down it is hard to make your way back up. Every little set back is so much more devastating. What impressed me was that he took it all in stride and continues to have a smile on his face. He said he should have known better and listened to the advice of his father but didn't and now he is back where he started with less money in his pocket but still trusting that he will end up on top eventually.
My road trip is next week. I am looking forward to being out on the open road and pressing my way on to Oklahoma. Back to my roots and family. I am also looking forward to getting to know my teenage niece. I hope that she has a good time and sees this as a time to expand her wings. I want her to know that there is so much more to this life and world than South Eastern Oklahoma. Not that it is bad or that she shouldn't want to stay. But I want her to make that choice because it is option she prefers not because she doesn't know anything else and is too frighten to leave her family cocoon. I also want to enjoy being having a child for a few weeks. This is me being selfish. I won't have kids and I don't regret that decision at all. But I want to have some of the joy of having one around for a while.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

You Gotta Love Working with the Public

Last week my teen librarian came to me as I was shelving books to let me know a patron let a page (someone who shelves books other than me) know that she saw another patron pour beer into his Pepsi cup at one of the tables in the children's area. Oh, man. I don't want to deal with this. So I approach the guy surrounded in a haze of beer fumes. I say "Excuse me sir, I smell beer are you drinking beer?"
"No, no."
"Ummm...I see something that looks like beer that has been spilled on the table."
He wipes up the offending spots and says "No, no I am just watching DVD's."
"Uhmm, someone saw you pour beer in a cup and I believe that you are drinking beer."
"Awww, I just came in here to watch a DVD and recharge my player, you don't know how hard I have it in my life...etc etc."
"Yes, sir I understand but you can't drink alcohol in the library."
"You don't understand, you can't understand how hard my life is."
"Yes, you are right sir, but you have two choices, you can either get rid of the beer or...."
"Alright, I'm leaving, I'm leaving."
He begins to pack up his belonging with a running commentary that I don't engage in. About 10 minutes later I escort him out of the library, tell him he is welcome back sans beer and with a big smile wish him a good day.
Then I return to my desk to spend the next 30 minutes writing reports.
Last Friday as I am helping a patron, I see a patron that I have had run ins with before using a webcam in the library. I go over to him and explain that he cannot film in the library. He states that he is not recording but rather showing the library to his girlfriend in China. He asks to speak with the manager, that would be me I say. "Well, the short librarian in Valencia says that it is OK why do you have a problem. I'm not showing her people, just books."
"Ok, I will have to call my supervisor to see if it is OK."
I call, and go back to the gentleman and explain, "I have spoken with my supervisor and she agrees that you will have to stop filming with the webcam, we have video taping policies and you will have to request permission from our Public Information Officer."
"OK, I will stop, can I ask why."
"People who come to library expect and deserve a degree of privacy."
On Sunday, I go to Valencia and the librarian there greets me with "I did not tell him it was OK. I told him he couldn't film in the library." Just as I thought, this is often a ploy that people use to get their way. Do they think that we don't talk to each other?
Yesterday, a patron comes up and tells me she has an internet appointment at this time but someone is using the computer. I ask for the card and she gives it to me, I check and there is no appointment. She says she made it herself so she knows she made it. I explain that if you don't get the verification at the top of the screen it might not take. Then I look at the card and the card belongs to a man. I ask whose card it is. She tells me that it is her employers, she is a care giver. I explain that only the holder of the card can use the internet and that she can get a library card. "I live out of town." or a computer user card, "I don't want to do that." She turns away with a mutter, "I will make my own appointment later." I call out to her "You don't understand, I will have to block this card now, you can get a computer user card, we just need your name, that is all." She gets huffy, "My boss is 300 pounds can can't come in. He is going to be really angry that you blocked his card." I say "We can get you a computer user card" to her back.
Later in the day, I get a phone call from her boss, he wants to know why his card is blocked. I explain that only the person belonging to the card should use the computer and that when he comes in to the library to use the internet I will unblock his card. I explain about the internet user card and that his caregiver can get one without any problem to use the internet. This is for his own protection and we have to use the same rules for everyone. I then go on to explain that if he sends a letter with he explaining his situation and that he wants her to check out items for him then and he understands that he is responsible for anything she checks out on his card then I will unblock his card for her to check out and add a note that she can use his card to check out but not the internet.
Seriously, if the police come in with a court order to search the hard drives on a computer for information that someone searched for using my card number, I would be very concerned. Yes, the chances are very small but seems to be significantly higher when someone refuses to go through a 30 second process of getting her own card. Which by the way the smart person would just give us a fake name, we don't require ID for computer user cards if you refuse to give it to us. So what is the problem?
And finally yesterday afternoon, the back of the library was smelled with a strong pungently sweet smell. I searched but no smoke, I check the bathrooms, I checked outside and finally came to the conclusion that although no one was smoking up in the library, they might very well have been carrying some very strong weed of the fine quality variety and when they went they left an aroma of pot behind them.
Why do I know that this is likely, well when I lived in San Francisco, I had a roommate that smoked some and a student that smoked a lot but was wanting to quit. So we are studying in my room and we both smell the pot. I am thinking "Man, Ander said he was quitting but here he is coming to lessons high." and he is thinking "I though Marta didn't smoke. Why is she teaching me high?" Finally, I gave way and said "I thought you quit smoking?" He looks confused and then gets what I am saying and tells me what he was thinking. Some sniffing to the source located a baggy that my roommate bought in the desk drawer. So I know that good pot can permeate a room or in the case of yesterday a library.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Star Trek

Last night at 10:25 I went to see the newest installment to the Star Trek franchise. Apparently this is the 11 movie in the series. I have missed a fair number of them, I remember only 4 or 5.
I bought my ticket earlier in the day to ensure a seat at the local theater but I needn't to have worried because the theater was only half filled. Presumably all the trekkies in Canyon Country had already attended one of the earlier showings.
Although I have numerous friends that are trekkies I just know enough of the serious to get most of the references. Growing up, my mom loved Star Trek so whenever it came on we would gather around the TV to watch episodes. My brothers and I would often surf channels trying to find reruns for her to watch. I always hit the sack around 10:00 on school nights growing up so I was limited to weekend finds. In short, I mostly associate Star Trek with my mom and generally felt it was uncool to embrace wholeheartedly something a MOM enjoyed.
Now that enough background has been laid, I will get one with my thoughts on the new installment. It was action packed and the actors did a good enough job. I felt that it was true to Gene Roddenberry's original concept of the characters. Zachary Quinto I felt was a perfect match for a young Spock. Leonard Nimoy playing the venerable Spock was homage that made me feel warm. Kudos to JJ Abrams here. Chris Pine instills the honorable bad boy charisma in the character as William Shatner imbued to his Kirk. A new sexy Kirk for a new generation. Simon Pegg as Scottie was spot on. The comic relief he provided gave the movie a definite boost up. Quinto and Pine worked well enough together to provide a believable enough insight into the future relationship that they had in the form of Shatner and Nimoy. The only problem I had was with Kurt Urban. I thought that he did a well enough portrayal of Deforest Kelly' but for the first half of the movie I kept asking myself who he really reminded me of and then when I finally figured it out I got a new kind of interference through the rest of the movie. Young Chris Noth kept looping through my head when he was on screen. If they do a prequel to Law and Order of Sex in the City he's without a doubt your guy.
Although the overall plot was weak and Eric Bana as the evil Romulan did not flesh out the evilness of his Romulan bad guy, I found Star Trek engaging enough with fantastic special effects and good enough wit and repartee to warrant the $11 I paid. I felt the film was a mile above Watchmen.
The one thing that I found interesting enough to ponder on throughout most the film was how well they constructed the prequel. Due to a creative disruption of the space time continuum this film was a prequel that wasn't a prequel. How cool is that? The film primed us for an entirely new era of Enterprise & Crew adventures that pay homage to but are not hemmed in by the past. Brilliant.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


I love pineapples. The first time I ever had fresh pineapple was my first year in Japan. Growing up, my mom never bought fresh pineapple citing there was too much waste and effort for the price. I have never really enjoyed canned fruit--pineapple included. But fresh pineapple is a completely different story. However, I quickly learned that pineapple is a natural laxative and can play havoc with your system. This fact and the ensuing discomfort dampened my enthusiasm for pineapple. These days, I enjoy it in moderation.
Yesterday, I bought ten pineapples for the Library Luau--which was a success by the way. I had some volunteers cut up 7 of them into slices--no need to waste anything when eating slices what I grew up calling Indian style. Over a few slices, I recounted some of my memories of pineapples in Hawaii. First there was the annual Waihiawa Pineapple run. The prize for finishing is a pineapple. C, P, and I did the run. We had a great time running through Waihiawa in the fresh morning air inhaling the delicate waft of pineapple. I still have the t-shirt.
Then there was the run that we did through a military area that one of the runners got permission to run through. We came out of the mountainous brush into the flat vista of pineapple fields on the North Shore. This was the first time, I smelled pineapple laden air. It was like ambrosia--which I believe has pineapple in it. Despite the heat and dust, I was energized to finish the run.
And then there was the time, that my boyfriend did a run that was too tough for me and I was laid low with a heel spur to boot. He asked me to drive his white convertible Camero to the end of the run so that we wouldn't have to mess with getting a ride back to the start. So unsure where we were going, with the top down, I followed two other cars down Kam Highway. The fresh smell of pineapple exhilarated me. Life was good and the way it should be lived. Me in Hawaii, driving my very cute boyfriend's convertible listening to the stereo enjoying the heavy scent of pineapple. BUT THEN we turned down a red dirt road near Dole Plantation and proceeded through a maze of dusty red dirt roads. Dust began to kick up, I didn't have anyone cell numbers, and the top was down. I couldn't stop. For the next 5 miles, I watch dust pile up in the car as I ground grit in my teeth. After a nightmarishly long haul we stopped in a scenically quiet area to set up for the finishers. I got out of the car, removed my sunglasses to reveal my red-raccoon ringed eyes. The people I were following crowded around the disaster my boyfriend's previously white Camero. A chorus of "Oh, boy Fermin is going to kill you." Yes, I sadly responded, he will and he will never let me drive the car again. Everyone dug around in the cars for extra towels, t-shirts and anything else that could be used to wipe out some of the dust. An hour later the car still looked like a disaster but definitely much better.
Although, I never did drive the car again, he adventure his car and I had in stride. The next day, I insisted on paying for a car wash and detail. However, for the following month every time I buckled up, I got a little red sash from the seatbelt across my shirt as a reminder. I learned not to wear white while I dated Fermin.
A couple of slices of left over pineapple are awaiting me. Cold juicy pineapple. Yum.

Friday, May 1, 2009

You're So Beautiful

Yeah, thanks a lot, I feel kind of like I need a bath. Yesterday went to Ikea in Burbank after my presentation and meeting earlier in the day. As I walked passed a guy he breathed.."Beautiful woman." How do you respond to that? What kind of response did he Ikea? Was he expecting a response or was it just a compliment. I quietly said thank you as I avoided I contact to focus on the object that brought me passed him in the first place. I looked around later but didn't see anyone that looked like the guy. I wouldn't have been able to pick him out in a line up anyhow. I don't have a clue as to what he actually looked like. Maybe I missed my big chance. But somehow I don't think so.
I have two customers that regularly flatter me with compliments about my looks. I feel awkward--again what do they expect? It's not that I don't have high enough self-esteem to think that they are dead wrong. I don't think that I am a Jennifer Aniston or Angelina Jolie but I would guess that I have at least average looks. Last March I wrote about Weirdar. It seems that a lot has not changed in the past year.
Here is the burning question that has me writing tonight. Why doesn't someone that I would actually like to tell me these things ever do? Are my expectations too high? Do only guys that I think are unsuitable for me think that I am attractive and desirable? Is this just some kind of cosmic joke on me? Ha Ha...thanks very much. Yes, it has been far too long since my last date. And no there are no prospects outside of married library patrons and random guys in Ikea. Real funny. I am dying of laughter here. I think I might need stitches soon.
Ok, no more movies with Russel Crowe for me in a while and I should probably stay away from the upcoming X-man movie.