Saturday, March 24, 2012

I Hunger For You

I’ve been sick. If you’re sick on your off day, there goes your fun. If you’re sick during work, there goes your PTO. And if you’re sick at my house, there goes any sympathy. I got to hear things like, “Your room is a mess,” and “After you go to the doctor’s we need to run errands/do things that involve you baking in the car.”

So I’m at home, freaking out at my medication’s side effects (“Tell your doctor if you know someone who owns a cat or might want to purchase a home…”) and trying to nap, only to be interrupted by one nephew setting off the alarm (“Oops!”), another wanting homework help, and an annoying relative at the door. At least this one didn’t have a suitcase, but I treat relatives like I’m a native and they’re 15th century explorers ready to give me smallpox-infested blankets in order to take my home.

Thus I was miserable and my (non-annoying) family was giving me that “You’re not contagious, right?” look when it hit me: either I can read or they’d decide I should cook.

Cooking was not happening.

The Hunger Games trilogy had been on my reading list for a while. When I opened the first book up it still had the receipt in it…

The Borders receipt.

Guess I should have put reading the series higher up on my To Do list.

These books are harsh, yet I enjoyed them and I’m going to see the movie with my older nephew, preparing myself for what’s likely to be brutal violence, but for myself, it having violence in it is not as important as what it doesn’t have:

Katherine Heigl, Jennifer Anistan, Adam Sandler, Tyler Perry as Madea, the Wayans Brothers, Robert Pattinson, Shia Lebeof or a non-animated Eddie Murphy.

Violence couldn’t possibly traumatize me as much as that drive-in double feature of “The Bounty Hunter” and “Remember Me” did.

That said, why do folks want to take young kids to see The Hunger Games? Did I miss the notation on the calendar stating it is Take Your Child to be Traumatized Day? Yesterday I had a tour of 4th and 5th graders. Some had read the book; some had holds. (Good luck with that, patron number 930!) Most wanted to see the movie. However, when the teacher asked my opinion, the kids groaned because I said, “My personal opinion, which is not the opinion of others, is that parents should review movies beforehand to decide if they are appropriate. After reading the book and reviewing film information I decided against taking an 11 year old to see it.”

Instead he can see something more to his level, like the R-rated comedy “21 Jump Street.”

Seriously, if you review the movie yourself and decide it is fine for your child you’re out an extra $10.50. If you decide it’ll give them nightmares, you’ve saved a bunch of psychiatric care co-pays.

But then again, what do I know?

Anyway, I saw a card similar to this card in a pop-up card book. Then I realized I wasn’t willing to do the 8 million steps it required, so I simplified it a bit. It’s easiest to have volunteers put together the first part of the card, then have participants decorate. You can also print words onto the white cardstock so that things are nice and pretty when you’re all finished. (Writing after you’ve glue a bunch of stuff on can be tricky!)

Pop Up Cards

Card supplies:
Cardstock---white and assorted color
Glue sticks

Crayons and pens
Multi colored paper
Glitter glue

1. Fold 2 pieces of card stock---inner and outer---in half

2. Take the inner card stock and fold it no more than 1/3 of the way over. Reverse the fold.
3. Unfold the inner paper to reveal a pop up.

4. Glue the inner cardstock to the outer cardstock on both ends, being careful to maintain the pop up.

5. Allow card shells to dry before storing them away.
6. When ready to use, have participants decorate them with paper flowers. If you have tons of volunteers, have them cut out/die cut shapes so that smaller children can do this craft

Happy Hunger Games!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Easy as Pi

Some things in life aren’t easy. Like the other day, when I had to tell tough tattooed teen, aka, my nephew, that our sheepdog Peaches had died…in the 1990s. My sister hadn’t wanted to break the news to him, so when he came over and asked, “Where’s Peaches?” my grocery cashier brother said the first thing that came to his mind: “She went to the store.” Which was a problem, because whenever my nephew went to a store he would ask, “Is Peaches here?” So I morphed the story over the years, to the point in which we were sitting around a waiting room and I mentioned missing having a dog and he responded by saying, “Then you really shouldn’t have sent Peaches away to live on a sheep farm.” As all the adults in the room gave me that knowing look I said, “Oh, yeah. That farm…up north…”

Way up north…

Where she enjoys chasing sheep to this day…

Other things in life are easy. Like when the supervisor asked everyone if they wanted to bring in pies for Pi Day. Americans have never needed an excuse to eat dessert, though we will grab latch onto one if possible. There was apple pie, cherry pie, banana cream pie, peanut butter pie, unidentifiable-yet-good-looking pie, and I brought cookies. I figured we’d get sick of pie, but no one gets sick of cookies. This is how I ended up at home groaning from with the trifecta of allergies, an overly full stomach, and forcing myself to exercise when all I wanted to do was lie on the couch rubbing my eyes while my family yelled, “Stop touching your face!” But this is okay, because the next day someone brought in a vegan veggie pie, which, like hitting Ctrl Alt Delete and clicking restart, is the equivalent of a new beginning.

Another easy thing is tile crafts. I did this a few years ago. Back before I realized the only people who should attempt renovations themselves are either HGTV hosts or married to them, I would wander home improvement stores for ideas, until I came up with the best one yet---buying a brand new home. During one of these trips I came across 4x4 tiles marked 75% off and thought, “Wouldn’t it be cute to let the kids decorate them with Sharpies?” Normally I would clear a store out of good deals, but those puppies are heavy! When an employee offered to load them into the cart I was tempted to ask, “Can you take them all the way to work for me?” Thus I settled for a reasonable amount I could lift without a back brace.

Decorative Tiles

Plastic tablecloths
Rubbing alcohol

1. Cover the tables with tablecloths.
2. Give sharpies and tiles to children. Unlike teens, you can give pens to children without too much worry. It’s the parents that will be totally freaking out at the thought of their child getting permanent markers on their clothes. Like the time we used tempura paints, this is one craft program you won’t hear any parents asking, “Is it okay if I leave my child here?”
3. Try not to laugh out loud as you see parents trying to pry pens out of their 6 year olds' hands because they look like they might be aiming for skin.
4. Clean up the tables with rubbing alcohol and paper towels.

I woke up this morning in the mood for ABBA. Maybe I needed a pick me up from the rainy weather. Maybe it’s the allergy medication traveling through my system. Whatever it is, I’m most likely going to go home, break out my ABBA sheet music and give it a try…after I take a long nap and eat takeout…

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Having a Party

I will say that despite literally crawling into bed after almost passing out in the shower from exhaustion (and wondering if SPL has hazard pay) that hosting a big Dr. Seuss Day was totally worth it. Everyone had so much fun! There were those looks on the kids’ faces, and the happy looks on the faces of the fathers as they got to see Lance Briggs, and staff was happy to see him, too!

Briggs was extremely nice. He hung out in the staff room with his family beforehand and I heard someone say, “He’s sitting in that chair! We must never wash it!” Which I wasn’t even thinking of doing, meaning it will never get washed, so one wish down; what are your other two?

He read “Green Eggs and Ham” in the big purple chair with a gazillion people listening. Then he signed sign autographs and took pictures for 40 minutes. When trying to round up the staff I thought, “Staff would be upset if we don’t take a photo, but the guys my kill me if I don’t include them.”
Someone pointed out that I’m right next to Briggs in the photo. Yes, I am. After giving half of Logistics my cell number to work out, well, logistics, and breaking my nails while setting out parking cones while everyone else was meeting downtown, I would have happily elbowed the Pope to get by him.

You may also want to steer clear of me if I’m clothes shopping.

That said, Lance Briggs was the highlight of the day, but by no means the only thing going on. We did lots of stuff---crafts, storytimes, face painting, giveaways, refreshments, etc.--- that are easy to duplicate at any branch. When doing something big, thinking inside the box is actually more important than thinking outside of it. Thinking outside the box usually costs money. That’s fine for members of the Jersey Shore or if you’re married the future king of England (if his grandmother doesn’t succeed in living forever). The rest of the world has budgets. Besides, we already have the box---it’s sitting in your storage room…and under your desk...and in that room near the “dungeon,” aka, the scary storage space in Central’s basement. You are surrounded by and know how to do plenty of stuff already. Just do more of it at once. (And schedule a massage for the next day.)

Crafts: I’ve already posted instructions for all of these crafts. They just needed tweaking for the event.

Lanterns---Kids made lanterns from Dr. Seuss coloring sheets
Postcards---Dr. Seuss coloring pages were set 4 to a page and printed on the back of postcard templates.
Flags---More Dr. Seuss, this time in colorable flag form.

Napkins and gloves: We used the latex gloves from the janitorial closet (yes, they are food safe), and obtained napkins from the surplus supply list.

Face painting: Did you know YS has a face painting kit? What I thought would be some intricate hard-to-use mash up of paints was actually a colorful kit that looked like crayons. Though we brought in Just for Fun face painters from 3-5, we needed something for the smaller children who showed up from 1-3. A volunteer made painted simple designs that pleased your average toddler.

Storytime activities: I can honestly say I did not plan to do additional activities, but when some kids began to get restless I ended up shaking shaky eggs and flapping around like a bird.

Read to a Dog: Since we already have a regular service dog literacy program, I contacted the leader to see if additional dogs could come in.

Scooter the Safety Dog: Scooter was kind enough to join us for a storytime, so I called to see if he was available to visit that day. The children enjoyed the mascot (save for the ones who went screaming to their mommies) and Scooter’s handler read “The Lorax” to an enraptured crowed, and scooter also flapped his "wings" right along beside me for storytime activities.

Giveaways: People have commented that I have the cleanest children’s librarian space they’ve been to. This is because of my “Everything must go! Give it away, give it away, give it away now!” policy I developed towards kids stuff so that a certain librarian who shall remain nameless (she's the sup at CHS) wouldn't strangle me when we worked together. Unlike Twinkies, kids’ giveaways have a shelf life. Erasers die. Popular book titles get old. Paper looks like it’s been attacked by mice. You have about a 6 month window to turn your clutter into someone else’s prize before it starts slowly drifting into the trash column. We gave away books, pencils, bookmarks, tattoos (thanks Scooter!), and pretty much any item that wasn’t nailed down.

Volunteers: The volunteers were excellent. Even my nephew did a good job manning the giveaway table, though he complained, “Those kids kept mobbing me!” They came on time, if not early, stayed longer than I thought, and they were extremely hard working.

If you’re looking for something special to do for summer reading, don’t be afraid---go for it. And remember, even if you don’t have tons of cash to spend, there might be a boxed program or two (or five) you can borrow to help make that special day just so much more specialer.

Yes, that’s a made up word.