Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cat Toys

Like all mothers who spoil their kids, I have invested in a number of cat toys for the boys.
When I vacuum, I have to pick up toys around the house. I haven't been able to teach the cats to put their toys back in the box when they are finished. But I have found is that I really didn't have to spend a lot of money on their toys, they are just as happy with pieces of string, ribbon and pipe cleaners.
Here is Sasha playing with one of their pipe cleaners. A while back, I was working on a craft and had a bag of pipe cleaners sitting out. Next thing I knew the pipe cleaners were all over the floor. I picked them up wondering if I could have dropped that many but then I spied a pesky Balinese nosing round the bag and pulling them out for his brother waiting down on the floor for it to fall.
Something that the boys really enjoy playing is Bug in the Rug. I found that they prefer the non-toy end of the toy and enjoy it hiding under the rug.
Here is Misha having a ball with the Bug
He spots the Bug but then he has to obliterate it.
The mat was originally bought as a mat for their food bowls but I realized right away that the mat was much more to them than something to hold their bowls. It is a magic mat that has no limit to what it can do in the imagination.
But their favorite treat are their catnip mice.
About once a week, I load up the mice' bellies with fresh catnip, boy oh boy do they love their mice. This is Sasha with his.
And this is Misha with his.
And here is their first mouse which usually Sasha takes as his. I'll probably have to invest in another one soon.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Day of Training

Today was my day off. Thank goodness because I felt more detective yesterday than Librarian. A kid stuck gum in one of our electrical outlets. I had three of the four in my office for quite a while. Of course, getting information out of them was an exercise in geeting past the I don't know's and wuddn't me's. Finally after about an hour, and phone calls to the parents, the kids came back wanting to make a clean breast of it all. The told me the other kid did it. Of course, so the first part of my day off was spent at our regional office filling our paperwork and calling the school. Fortunately, the school is very responsive and because the kids haven't made it home from school when they are in the library, anything that happens at the library is a school problem, their councellors deal with problem and can met out a pushiment. My bark is really and truly worse than my bite, but I keep this little fact a deeply guarded secret around the pre-teens and teens. Sometimes, I get tired to being bad cop. When I worked at IIE, I used to tell the Assistant Director, that I wanted to be good cop for a change, he could be bad cop.
After I got back, I made breakfast--a breakfast burrito--and then walked to the mall to get a Dr. Pepper and then I stopped by Target to buy some tape for my feet. I tape my arches to help prevent orthopedic program. I came back home, changed into the my running clothes, grabbed by iPod and then headed out for a two hours out on the Santa Clara River trail. I ran some. I'm not sure how far I went, I certainly hope that I covered more than 6 miles which is what I should be able to cover if I were only walking. Sigh, I may have only gone 6 miles.
I came home, changed into my swimsuit and went to the gym for a quick swim to release my back and shoulders from the run/walk. After the swim, I sat in the wet sauna for 10 minutes.
Oh, I know that I am going to be sore tomorrow. But I needed to know that I can at least do 9.30 miles without keeling over. A couple of weeks ago, I signed up for the a 15K run in San Diego on Sunday, March 25. This will the the first run, I have done since before leaving Hawaii. I was looking on the internet to see if I could find a run that might inspire me and when I spotted the Hot Chocolate 15k I gave out a bark of ironic laughter and then clicked on the sign up.
With the run on the horizon and with me feel much more focused, this past Sunday, I started the training. I took a very easy pace on the treadmill and was able to sustain an hour and 4 miles. But running outside is a very different from running on the treadmill.
If I enjoy this run, I can sign up for the October 13th run in Denver and the November 10th run in San Francisco. I would have the opportunity to visit friends in both places and retain focus on getting my life back.
I'm looking forward to going down to San Diego. I have been here for almost 6 years and I still have been down there. I'm going to go down on Saturday to pick up my race packet and to check out the logistics of the getting to the race on Sunday morning. Sunday morning will be spent at the race. I only hope that they don't pack up the after party before I get there. After the race, I plan to go back to the hotel for a shower, change and recovery. Then I would like to just check out San Diego. I have taken Monday off so that I can take my time driving back.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

My library owns 13 copies of this book and we haven't seen more than 1 copy for more than 1 day in the library for over a year now. I expect that when I do start seeing them come in, they may be worse for wear and I'll want to remove many of them from my collection. However, I'll want to keep some of them on tap because when the next movie comes out, I can imagine another run.
I've read the book and I've seen both the Swedish and American versions of the movie. The book was pretty good. I think it is probably the best of the three books with the Girl Who Kicked a Hornets Nest being better than The Girl Who Played with Fire. Larsson's books are pretty hardcore and the rape scene was particularly disturbing. Many of my customers told me it was too much for them and they had to stop reading the book.
What I think is really interesting is to see both versions of the film compared against the book. Both movies are really good. Both movies follow the main plot line of the book but they omit or change details from the book. What you end up with is three engaging stories that are similar but also different.
What I liked about the Swedish version of the movie was the grainy reality of the filming. I really felt cold and bleak. I thought the Swedish actor, Micheal Nyqvist was a better Michael Blomkvist than Daniel Craig. The Swedish version made much more of Blomkvist's name being similar to a famous Swedish detective character--for obvious reasons this would work better with a Swedish audience than an American one. The Swedish version had Blomkvist going to Australia locate Harriet Vanger just as Larrson has Blomkvist do. But the movie glosses over the buying and selling of magazine. It also glosses over the way that Lisbeth feels about Blomkvist.
In the American version I feel that Rooney Mara does a much better job of capturing Lisbeth than Naomi Rapace. Mara made us feel that Lisbeth was on somewhere on the autistic savant spectrum that Larsson portrayed in the book. Rapace, on the other hand, I didn't quite pick that up--she seemed just too bloody normal for the Lisbeth that I got to know in the books. I also like how they handled the metamorphosis scene in the American version, the Swedish version really just alluded to it. It was a fun fast paced part of the book and the American version captured this quite well. With the overall darkness of movie, this respite was welcome and needed. In the American movie completely rewrites where Blomkvist finds Harriet. In my mind this is minor because I view it as a way to streamline the story to make it more manageable for the movie theater. I also liked that the American version really dealt with how delicate Lisbeth really is in her emotional handling of her guardian--the good one--and how she deals with what she sees as Blomkvist callous betrayal of their relationship.
In both of the movies, the rape scene is equally disturbing and much longer than I really wanted it to be.
I almost hate to say this but if I were going to recommend one version over the other, I would recommend the American version as being more true to the Larsson's intentions in storytelling. But I think it is better to see both of them. Both are good stories and they are different enough from each other and each is different enough from the book that I was able find each intriguing in its own right.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Secret Ambition

Everyone has a secret ambition. Some people want to don a cape and be as fast as a speeding bullet. Others might want to don that latest fashions and walk down the catwalk. When I lived in San Francisco, I used to go art receptions at galleries down near Union Square. I enjoyed, the atmosphere, the little glasses of wine and tidbits of cheese. I not only enjoyed looking at the art but also took note to how it was presented. As a teacher, I would often try to draw what I was trying to explain, this ended up being more of an exercise in humor and imagination than anything else. After the students figured out what I was trying to draw, they would ask...really that's a ..... (fill in the object I was drawing) up there? I would come back, "hey, take note someday this might be worth a lot of money--this is quality stuff here, not everyone got what Picasso was trying to represent either." I would love to be an artist but that is not where my talent lays.
But being an artist is not my secret amibition. What I really want to be is a gallery owner. I am not patting myself too hard on the back, when I say that I think I have more talent in display and event planning. As a librarian, I have found that I can indulge in some of my secret ambitions--because there are more than one--through my programming. Remembering how much I enjoyed going to the art receptions in San Francisco, I decided that I would like to try to create art receptions at the library. Fortunately for me there are a lot of artists in the nearby area and my library was the first library designed with the new mandate to include civic art. So building on these facts, I designed the Community Art Contest at the library and then segued into a 3rd Friday Art Reception where I feature the work of local artists.
In February, I featured some artists in the acrylics class from the nearby McGroatry Arts Center. . I had 10 students from the class exhbiting. I told them they could bring between between 5 and 8 pieces each which meant I was looking at hanging up to 8 pieces in the Community Room. Earlier in the week so of the artists dropped off their art but I didn't really have a chance to really think about any of it until Wednesday afternoon before the Friday reception. Some of the students wanted to come help me with putting up the art, so on Wednesday afternoon, I have arrayed on the floor about 50 pieces of art. At first I wondered how in the world I would get all this up on the walls, but then I took a deep breath, centered myself, and reminded myself that as always the right way would present itself. I wanted to keep the artists works together as much as possible, but with the number of pieces and the limited space that wasn't completely possible. Also sense different artists had different styles, I wanted to put complimentary pieces next to each other. Here is what I came up with. I started with the big pieces brightly colored pieces of one artist.

William is a retired engineer and clearly his art is dominated by clearly lines add extreme detail. At the reception he brought photos of his portfolio, what a treat. I was amazed at the detail went into his work.
His work carried on to the next wall so I placed the Montrose street scene on the other side of the window from his other pieces.
The Montrose street scene was darker than the other pieces and was primarily blue rather than yellow like the other pieces. So that left only one picture on this wall, I stopped there and decided I would get back to it later. Next I saw that there were two artists work that were very vivid in their use of colors. Although their styles and subjects were quite different, I felt that they would compliment each other.
This grouping actually ended up being the focal point of the exhibit. A number of were in awe with the execution of these work. Next, I realized that two artists had works that dealt more with nature. They also had a number of smaller works so I began to get them up on the wall letting the works present their natural flow to me.
At this point I started to get a little nervous, I still had a lot of art and only one big wall and part of a small wall to fill. Survey the works, I noticed that there were several dark pieces most of them having blue as the dominate color. I decided that they would work best next to the Montrose street scene.
Still with a number of pieces, I determined that many of the remaining artworks depicted water in various forms and seasons. So the next stage was putting these pieces together.
Nearing the end, I realized that most of the remaining smaller works had outdoor themes, so up on the wall they went.
All that was left now was about 8 very large canvas pieces. I had easles that would support these lightweight peices in the corner but I had to pick and choose which ones to display. From these, I felt that four of them moved well together with the colors.
As I was work with the art to determine the order to display it, I try to create back stories for them in my head. This time a couple of back stories presented themselves.
In this series, I started with the dog, who I imagined lived in the house with the man below, who in turn I imagined was waiting for his wife to return from the field in the work below it.
With these two I imagined that the spirit that manifested over the city in the first one moved across the sky and in the second piece we see the tail of the same spirit.
Now I know probably neither of these back stories were the artists real intentions but for me it helps me to find the flow in the display so that the eye can move from one piece to another.
One of the reasons, I like to have the receptions where people can meet the artists is because we can hear the real backstory from the artist. As I was hanging the art, the piece with two elephants was slight confusing to me, one elephant was clear and the other was very faint. But then when the artist told me the title and explained the meaning, this piece quickly became my absolute favorit. the title is Fighting for Survival. I found out that the two elephants represent elephants of today and elphants in the future. The future elephant is dispearing but the present and the future elephants have their trunks locked with the present elephant trying keep the future elephant from disappearing. What a powerful piece.
Letting out a big sigh of relief that I was able to represent all of the artists and ony had a handful of works that I couldn't display. I stepped back and surveys my work and found that I was pleased. The meeting room had come to life with color and was visually appealing. The artists assisting me told me they were amazed that I was able to get it organized and ready for display so quickly. I was thankful for them being their because they were able to make sure everything was straight. The hanging system is great and very versatile as a result of this positive feature, it is sometimes take tedious patience to get the art of hand straight. And since I am more of a global thinker rather than a detailer, I find this second step almost painful. But an hour and half later everything that I could hand was hung and ready for viewing which was good because just as we were finishing up people were arriving for the movie that I planned to show that evening.
The reception was a resounding success with over 100 people in attendance. The artists, most of which are retirees who have picked art back up after their careers came to a close and their families were raised, felt their efforts validated and that someone other than family and friends are able to appreciate their work. While the art was on display we had numerous compliments on how vibrant the meeting room looked and how much they appreciated being able to see the artwork. And my secret ambition of having a gallery is statisfied. Everyone wins here.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Out and About Town: Part 2

One Sunday, I decided to make use of the $10 Weekend Metrolink Pass and make a trip downtown. I arrived at Union Station at about 11:40 and then walked to Little Tokyo. Here I had lunch at one of the Plaza restaurants. The restaurant offered a lunch special which included two dishes and a drink for $8.99. I chose udon, rice bowl with eel and a beer. It was very tasty. I really like eel a lot and hadn't had it in a while, so I particularly enjoyed this lunch. The udon noodles came with a Chinese spoon. I'm always a bit confused by finding these spoons in my miso soup bowls and this time my noodle bowl. You can't find these spoons anywhere in Japan. For Western food you get forks, knives, and teaspoons and for curry rice and fried rice you get tablespoons. Everything else is eaten with chopsticks. Soups are drank. This was one habit I was happy to adopt for the rest of my life. I am the girl dumps a load of milk in her cereal, eats the cereal out and then drinks the milk from the bowl. I'm also the girl that puts twice as much water and milk into her oatmeal and malt-o-meal and then drinks it out of the cup. I never really understood the concept of ladling up spoonfuls of liquid into your mouth, it seems like just wasting energy. Chinese spoons don't seem like much of an improvement on the regular spoon, they are harder to fill up and the liquid sloshes around in the bowl of the spoon too much between the bowl and your mouth. But I guess that when Japanese restaurants in LA started being frequented by non-Japanese, that they tried to come up with some concessions the the Western reluctance to drink soup from a bowl. Personally I love lifting up the big noodle bowl to my face and feeling the hot steam open my sinuses. It's very gratifying.
After lunch I walked over the bakery and bought a shu-cream or cream puff.
After lunch, I walked downtown, up Angel's Flight and then rested and relaxed for a bit at the Biltmore.
I couldn't decided what to do next, I didn't have enough time to board the metro to Hollywood, besides, it was going to be a mad house down there since the Academy Awards were that evening. I considered it might be interesting to experience all the madness but then I saw a sign for the contemporary art museum. Althought I am not the biggest fan of modern art there is quiet a bit of it find interesting and since I hadn't been to the MOCA before, I decided that this was as good of a way to pass the afternoon as any.
The main exhibit was on Weegee who first made his name in New York as a crime photog, but later came to LA and documented the often contradictory images of Los Angeles and published the Naked City which in turn inspired the movie the Naked City. I found the exhibit fascinating and inspiring. But just as I expected, I decided that that most of the permenant collection made little sense or moved me. I was pleased with myself that I was able to identify the Jackson Pollock for what it was before I confirmed it with the label.
Inspired by WeeGee's photos, I took these photos. I don't know if it was staged or not but I found the tricycle chained up whimsicle. I also took a quick snap of the people standing in line at the MOCA ticket office. I think that this is a pretty good representation of the people downtown and not homeless on a Sunday afternoon.
I wanted to go back to Little Tokyo to the supermarket to pick up some of my favorite goodies. I know that I can get most of these items at the Korean Market in Santa Clarita, but shopping in a Korean market is a different experience than shopping in a Japanese market. I wanted the experience as much as the anything else.
I snapped a couple of photos of LAPD, I thought my brother would appreicate these, and then in the new Parker Center mirrored windows I noticed the traditional building from across the street. Yes, this part of My LA, the clashing of modern and tradition, the juxtaposition of styles.
At the Japanese market, I bought pickled daikon, a bag of short grain rice, rice sprinkles, somen noodles and soup base, and fish paste. All this week, I have been eating steamed rice with rice sprinkles. The left over rice became curry friend rice. I have been crunching on pickled diakon as well.
After picking up my groceries, I stopped at a gift shop and found M daughter a saftey driving charm. Her daughter commutes from the Antelope Valley all the way down the San Fernando Valley for work and she has had some pretty odd and expensive traffic problems. A rock punctured her gas tank, debris sheered off her OnStar are just a few. The clerk and I went through the charms trying to find the best one for her. We decided that the Maneki Neko scooping in good luck into her car along with the safety driving fortune was maybe the best one for her. Not that I overly superstitious but her very bad fortune with these freak accidents leads me to believe that it couldn't hurt.
After a little bit more wondering, I gathered my heavy bundles and walked back to Union Station to board the train back to Santa Clarita. On the train, I relaxed and read A Vintage Affair on my Kindle.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Out and About Town: Part I

I retrieved my other SD card that had the photos I wanted to add here. Recently, I have taken the MetroLink from Santa Clarita to downtown twice. The first time was for Chinese New Year's with my California family. The second time was a couple of Sundays ago, I walked around downtown, went to the Contemporary Art Museum and grocery shopping in Little Tokyo. I guess you can take the girl out of Japan but you can't take Japan out of the girl. After all I spent my formative adult years in the Land of the Rising Sun--which by the way in the summer would make it's debut at about 4:30 in the morning. More than once I would leave the darkness of Mac Bar and emerge into the brightness of morning. Anyway, on the first trip down during Chinese New Year, I met the family on board at the Santa Clarita Station, they had all boarded up the road at Canyon Country. There were about 15 of us and it made for a jovial ride downtown. The goal was to pick up some decorations for the family birthday party with a Chinese New Year theme. All parties must have a theme! We arrived at Union Station in due course and then boarded the Metro Gold Line for one stop to get to Chinatown. As usual Chinatown was hustling, we ducked into one of the markets and winded our way through the stalls. We popped out and ran immediately into a Lion Dance.
I almost didn't get a photo because I hadn't expected the dance. Later, I got a better photo of the dance we ran into back to the Metro.
Up close and personal on this one. I didn't think I was going to get that one either. A couple of the previous have only partial heads.
We crossed the street from the market to check out a couple of stores along the way to the square. I found some artificial roses that I thought were pretty, I purchased them and then realized that I would have to carry them around all day. But I got a lot of compliments on them. Here they are with a couple from the group waiting for the Metro back to Union Station.
We continued to walk around and I stopped for a little bit to watch the show on the stage. It was pretty amazing, I love Chinese acrobats.
Once back at Union Station we crossed over the Olvera Street and into the Pueblo of Los Angeles. I lagged behind to watch the Indian Dances in the square. It's amazing to go from the sights, colors and sounds of one culture and then 15 minutes later find an entirely different set from another culture.
We had lunch at El Paseo Inn which was established in the 1930s and is located in one of the oldest building in the Pueblo. Very good eats, atmosphere and yummy margaritas. During lunch the Mariachi's came over to our table to sing a couple of songs. I love Mariachi's, I love the sound, the costumes, and the fun that surrounds them. I had a hard time getting a photo of the band due to lighting, movement and me not really knowing which settings to get the right photo. Here is one that came out OK.
Completely sated and a little tipsy, we shopped for a little bit at the stalls. M showed me all the Mexican toys that they played with when they were kids. One is a gambling game sort of like dreidles. M, explained "Yes, we learned how to gamble from a very early age." Now, I understand why half the family events are in Vegas and not just because one sister lives there.
After a while, M and I wonder over to the square and relax on the benches while we wait for everyone else to join us. Little by little everyone came. J and K arrived with J carrying his brand new marionette. Here is him providing us with a little entertainment.
Eventually everyone arrived, we gathered our belongings, headed back to Union Station to catch our train. Happy, still full but tired I got off at Santa Clarita and waved good-bye to everyone.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

James Ellroy's Blood on the Moon

I just finished Blood on the Moon by James Ellroy. I downloaded it last week from the library onto my Kindle. I always search for the items that are immediately available because I have no patience and I feel that it is an opportunity for me to choose books that might not read otherwise. Blood on the Moon popped up on the list as available so I decided to give it a go. I've read L.A. Confidential previously and thought it was a pretty good book. Well actually, I thought the movie was better than the book. The book got too convoluted with so many subplots that it because incrediably far-fetched by the end. The movie on the other hand took the main plot and followed it to a logical conclusion ignoring the subplots. Of course Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce probably enhanced my overall rating of the movie.
So I started Blood on the Moon in the afternoon. The novel is set in LA between the Watt's Riots in the 60s and leads up to the 1980s. The book follows Lloyd Hopkins, a LAPD Homocide Detective from his early days and how his career was shaped beginning with the Watt's Riots where as a National Guardsman he kills one a psycopathic fellow guardsman. I got through Lloyds story in the afternoon and then picked it back up at bedtime. The next portion of the book dealt with the mind of the serial killer The Poet, how he was shaped by a butal rape and assualt on his by his high school classmates and how for the past 18 years he has consummated his romances with the women he stalked. It's fairly lengthly and after about 30 mintues, I wondered how much longer it would go on and hoped that the story would get back to the good guy soon. I put the Kindle to the side, turned off the light and went to sleep. Only to find that a couple of hours later I was struggling to surface from sleep where I was being attaked by a serial killer. Geez. I came awake and was really freaked out. It took me a while calm down enough to get back to sleep.
This evening I finished the novel. It was OK. I enjoyed knowing the locale--Lloyd grew up in Silverlake, goes to work at the Parker Center--the old one, has dinner in Glendale etc. etc. I now know the freeways, the neighborhoods, and the feel of the LA described in the book. Here is a photo of the Parker Center that I took on a recent Sunday afternoon spent downtown.

But once again, I felt that Ellroy gets too involved with coincidences. And once again the conclusion forces the suspension of disbelief.
I still want to read his famous Black Dalhia and I did learn to like Lloyd and Dutchman but on the whole, I don't think I will rush out and choose another Ellroy book anytime soon.

What's Up with Me

There is a long story about how I found myself going deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole of malaise. The Drink Me/Eat Me solution got me over a big hump but then it may have been the cause of my downward spiral. Only time will tell. But for now I am enjoying feeling a little bit more purpose driven and clear headed. If you know me and want to know the story, give me a call. It is only recently that I have been able to talk about what began on March 20, 2003 and I'm not quite ready to broadcast it out on the worldwide web for anyone to read. But just to put any inquiring minds to rest this wasn't an addiction problem. What I find the most unbelievable is that it has been almost a decade.
This morning, my day off, I picked up my computer and camera to head downsatirs to the Madison Clubhouse to use the WiFi and download photos from my camera. As I left I checked on Sash and Meez to tell them I was leaving. Here they are...
Ok, so I didn't get around to making my bed this morning. I need to de-fur it later and change sheets. The boy-cats spend so much time on my bed that about once a week, I realize it is time to de-fur when all I breathe in is cat hair when I lay down.
I also need to clean all the bird seed and bird poop off my balcony. Grrr. The other day I was buying cat food and birdseed at Target, the guy asked if I had a lot of pets, I responded two cats, he returned "Oh, I see that is wild bird seed." I said, "Yeah, that's entertainment for the cats." He looked at me wide eyed and said "Now, I'm scared." I realized how that sounded and not wanting to remain a sadist in his eyes, I let him know that there was a window between the cats and the birds. Here are the Sash and Meez at their bird watching stations.
Usually Sasha is on the floor behind the blind and Misha is often on the back of the sofa looking through the space between the blinds. They chatter and occassionally rush the window when it just gets to be TOO MUCH. The other day, everytime I said something to Sasha about the birds, he chattered his response. It was really funny.
Yes, I know...sigh...this is one of the reasons, I have opted not to procreate.
So I come downstairs to download my photos onto my computer and realize that I left the tansfer cable upstairs, I trudge back upstairs, retrieve the cable, come downstairs, hook up the cable and realize that yesterday when I was messing with SD cards, I mixed them up and got the wrong card back into the wrong cameral. I mutter to myself and decide to make these photos work. So if some of the photos are radom that is because this is ultimately not the entry I planned to write.
My friend Paul came back at the end of last year. He was staying down in Venice Beach. I went down several weekends to catch up with him. We would take long walks--up to ten miles--on the beach. Here is a photo that I really really like that I took on one of our walks. I really like the incongrous-ness of the guys walking in their wetsuits with the industrial plant in the backgroud.
This would be part of the My LA series. Next month, I am having two photographers in the 3rd Friday Art Reception that I do at the library. I am thinking about adding some of my photos to round out the program. I am operating with the notation that if you take a million pictures the odds are in your favor that at least a few are notable. All my images are raw. I know that a good picture could be made much better with proper processing, but that isn't my baliwick and I am just as pleased to deal with the raw images. I have several photos over the years that I am attached to and have long planned to get them enlarged and framed, so this might be the imputus to make that little nagging concept into reality. I need to get a neg/slide converter to get the digital image on many of my photos. I also perfer matte processing so I need to locate a photography that will print them out matte for me.
Looking through the photos on this card, I found a photo of my Chili King Crown that I made last year for the 2nd Annual Chili Cookoff. The first crown I created with a styrofoam wreath, covered in ribbons and wire with Chili spelled out in beaded wire. The winner that year had longer hair and he kind of looked like Jesus with his crown of thorns. Head shake here at the memory. So last year, I think i improved on the concept.
And here is me wearing the crown along with an apron that I was able to secure for the people who entered into the cookoff. I entered my Home On the Range chili which is made with buffalo and venison.
I didn't win.
Last year there was stiff competetition between the defending champion with his Texas Chili and Broken Arrow Chili named after the city in Oklahoma. I got a real kick that this was a competion between the two states I most identify with. Last year Oklahoma edged out Texas.
The Chili contest is a lot of fun and has become the end of our Summer Reading Program. I have been trying to establish some traditions at the library. Right now, we have the Chili Cookoff, the Mother Daughter Teas in the Spring and Winter, and this year I plan to have another Community Art Contest. We are also going to give Dog Dayz a go in June this year. Our reference librarian came up with the concept as a response to all those people who ask me what I have for fathers and sons or single mothers with sons. Dog Dayz which is still in the concept stage would feature a variety of hot dogs and maybe a project for the father/son teams complete. Right now, I am thinking Lego's where they have 45 minutes to build their project and then we vote on the best project.
I think that in order for libraries to remain relevant and funded they need to have traditions that bring the community together. With 4-5 different traditions to punctaute the year the library can unite a fairly wide range of community interests. From the library staff perspective it gives us a natural flow to the year. From the community's point of view it gives them something to anticipate and look forward to. Right now, I am thinking about the Mother's Day Mother/Daughter Tea and the community is beginning to ask about when the sign up for the tea will begin.