Tag Archives: library

Don’t Breathe On Me

There’s never a nice way to say to a patron (or anyone, really), “Please don’t exhale. Or sigh. Or open your mouth in any way.” I usually don’t care too much and hold in my breath until they leave. Whew. But there have been several incidents this past week where I really, really, really wanted to say something.

1. Coughing: Germs is germs. Apparently some people didn’t go to Head Start, preschool, or day care because they never learned to cough into the crook of their elbow. Instead they cough openly and freely as they rummage through the DVD cart or just as they pass through the A/V room spreading their spittle and pieces of lung tissue into the air. Hey, lady — it’s okay to pause and cover your mouth when you feel like you have to cough. Gross is gross.

2. Halitosis. Drink some water, dude! People with death in their mouths talk the most. Maybe that’s why they have stinky breath. They chat and laugh and the mouth isn’t closed enough to salivate. (I’m not a scientist or expert on bad breath but I like to make up stories that seem like real answers.) Anyone can get halitosis, by the way. I understand that and maybe no one has told them about the odor. When I get a patron with halitosis (I try to keep track of who has what), I don’t breathe and only squeak out a mild “Thank you,” or “You’re welcome,” or force out a wheezy laugh if they make a joke as the oxygen levels in my lungs drop.

3. SIGH! Some folks have vigorous sighs. They BREATHE OUT WITH GUSTO! I believe they enjoy exhaling, having their breath — smelly or not — flip up my bangs, rustle papers on the desk, pushing the essence of their being into my personal bubble. It seems like such a rude thing to do: “SIIIIIIIGH” “WHOOOOSH.” Once in a while they really do have a reason for such powerful exhalations, but mostly it’s just habit. “I am alive and proving it by breathing forcefully on anything and everything once I stop moving. Here I go to the check out desk. Here I am at the desk.” *pause* “Whooooooosh!” These are the patrons who always take me by surprise.

To be fair, I have to admit that I once came to work with Cheerios breath. Yeah, you know what I mean! In the fifth grade, I accidentally grabbed a recorder that belonged to my best friend. She had cereal for breakfast, Cheerios, and hadn’t brushed her teeth. I breathed in and out the taste and odor of oat cereal mixed with milk mingled with eau de stale plastic. She almost got hit over the head with that stinkin’ faux flute. It ruined the simple pleasures of recorders and challenged our friendship. Then everything changed in sixth grade: we moved on to a real flute (her) and a clarinet (me). We parted ways by the end of that year.

How To Be A Good Patron [Summer Edition]

It’s summer at the library! This is one of my favorite seasons: the kids (of all ages) who participate in our programs, the new patrons, and the excitement of summer break and summer activities. We have great patrons who love and respect the library. Even so, a few, only a few and only sometimes, can use some extra tips and reminders.

Ok! Here we go! Five ways you can be better summertime library patron:

1. Don’t carry materials under your sweaty armpits. Think about it. No one likes handling DVDs or paperbacks covered in human juices.

2. Don’t bring giant sodas in plastic cups with flimsy lids into the library. Danger! Danger!

3. Vacations are fun, aren’t they? Be careful that you don’t leave your library materials on a plane; they never come back, even though our info is marked on the book, and you’ll have to pay for it. Oh, and make sure to shake the sand that’s between the pages of those great summer reads. :)

4. Put your shoes back on. I love walking barefoot too, but it really is a health and safety issue. You don’t want your little toes run over by a runaway library cart.

5. Come on in and enjoy our air conditioning. Read a book, listen to music, use the computers, chat with library staff. Get away from the heat for a few minutes or even a few hours. It’s your library, use it!

Book Binge

Right now there are a hundred things I should be doing, such as dusting, painting, gardening, writing, etc. Instead, I’ve been staring at the pile of books taking up living room space. When I went back to work at the library, I made a rule for myself: Check out no more than two books and two DVDs at a time and stay away from the 50 cent used book room. I actually did very well for about two weeks but today I’m not sure where to start. Yesterday, I watched Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950 film noir w/ Gene Tierney & Dana Andrews) and The Watcher in the Woods (1980 Disney film w/ Bette Davis — love the book and have always loved the movie as well). I still have five DVDs left to watch. I picked up three great used books this past week too: Lost Moons by Jack Vance, The Five Gold Bands by Jack Vance (I’ll have to find out why the library is discarding Vance books), and a Sunset book on perennials. I also have ten books checked out. Oh, and don’t forget all the reading I have on my Kindle Fire. So I might feel a little overwhelmed at the moment, like a child who has too many new toys to choose from.

Last weekend the Friends of the Library held its annual Big Book Sale, a huge event that takes place at the county fairgrounds. The items sold are donated or discarded books, many in like-new condition. Throughout the year, donations come in, placed in the overflowing sorting bins. They come in one or two at a time, sometimes five boxes or more at time! The Friends of the Library is an amazing group — they transport and sort all of these items, deciding which to sell at Amazon/Alibris/AbeBooks, which to place in the used book room, and they organize the amazing Big Book Sale. Where would so many libraries be without their volunteers and the communities that support them?


There are always quality items that are donated to the library all year long. People give anything from a book they’ve only read once to their personal libraries when they retire and/or decide to downsize. Since this is a college town, there have been some amazing collections donated by retired professors. And, as a result of all these generous donations, the sale is always a great success every year — for the public as well as the library. The first day, which starts on a Friday evening, is sort of like the Black Friday sales, with people pushing through the doors and running down the aisles to find those perfect books (or DVDs, games, CDs which are also sold) and great deals. Book lovers come as far as two hours away or more. On Sundays, the remaining books are $5 a box! This might be surprising, but I’ve never been to the Big Book Sale, mainly because of the crowds and because I might go nuts and buy every book I see. Fortunately, there are plenty of folks who attend.

But back to the piles of library books on my living floor. This is what I have to choose from:

The Best American Short Stories 2012, ed. Tom Perrotta
A Drifting Life by Yoshihiro Tatsumi
Sensation by Nick Mamatas
Tara Road by Maeve Binchy

Alexander McQueen: The Life and the Legacy by Judith Watt
The Lupus Book (Fifth Edition, 2013) by Daniel J. Wallace
How Music Works by John Powell
The Science of Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards by William J. Broad
The Cleveland Clinic Guide to Fibromyalgia (2010)
Spontaneous Happiness by Andrew Weil

So where do I start? The Best American Short Stories and Alexander McQueen: The Life and the Legacy. I still need to finish That Mad Ache. However, that could change as I’m easily distracted. I’ll probably have to spend the next couple of days just reading so that I can return the items as soon as possible. I need some space as I begin spring cleaning!

Follow what I’m reading at Goodreads.

Work & House & House & Work

The last time I updated about my personal life, I was quite upset with my insurance company, among other things, and how they did not approve a medication I desperately needed. A month later, they finally decided to approve the medication, which three specialists agreed I needed to take. It ultimately took a letter from the third specialist stating that if I didn’t receive the medication, I would most likely end up in the hospital (true) and then the insurance company would have to pay a lot more than $670/mo.

Once my prescription was filled and paid for, I made a claim to have the $700 (less any copays) refunded. My argument was that they had paid for the four refills prior to denying me coverage and that after a month of trying they approved coverage through December, thus they should have paid for May as well. A month after my request, I received a check for $670. Hooray.

In early July, I began feeling well enough to start really missing my job. I put in a request to return to work, got my doctor’s letter ready, and on June 30th I was back! This is the middle of my fourth week. The first two weeks went great but by the end of third week, the fatigue worsened. My garden, the house, painting, and my writing & art have all been set aside so that I can rest after work. And this is with only working part-time!

This past weekend I finally cleaned the whole house, which felt good but frustrating. I had started painting the entryway in late June but still have the trim & stairway to paint. I don’t want to fall into the rut again of only focusing on making it to work, keeping up the house, and having no life or no fun. This week has been better than last, but I’m still tired, a bit sad, and definitely irritable. I think I hide it well at work. I do worry about having to take another leave or, worse, not be able to work at all, getting in debt, making life tough for my partner and me, losing everything, becoming a bag lady. ;) Of course, I shouldn’t think like that. So far, so okay — ha.

This weekend my goal includes researching for my novel, reading a couple of novels, painting the entryway trim, and returning to work on the garden. I also need to really get back into a strict schedule of sleeping & waking, eating, taking my meds, and resting. I’m also looking forward to planting fall crocus in September.

As long as I remind myself to do one thing at a time (instead of trying to to do as much as I can all at once) and remember that I have time enough to save up what I had to use from my emergency fund during the 7 1/2 months I didn’t receive a paycheck and to update certain things in the house (counter tops, den, balcony, porch), everything should turn out splendidly!

I hope.

Below are photos of my entryway. Eventually the balusters, stair risers, & trim will be painted white. I may carry the soft gray from the loft to the wall behind the stairway. The living room will be painted white — modern & airy.

The second photo is a limited edition print by Lee Strasberger. She had completed a number a drawings inspired by Brassai’s photography of Paris at night (1933). I love Brassai & I love Strasberger’s interpretation — I think the piece looks gorgeous in this frame and against the turquoise/teal blue. I’m hoping to buy more of her work for other parts of the house. You can buy original art and prints by Lee here: Lee Strasberger on Etsy

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