Holy blooming flowers, Batman!

Confession: philodendrons have died on my watch. so have cacti, peace lilies, and ferns.

I'm told these are easy plants to keep alive, but I have managed to let them all die. And, I try! Honestly! I put effort into keeping all of those indoor plants alive and well in my house, and have been met with disappointment and frustration on all counts.

I don't know why I expected my skill / luck / whatever to change when we moved to our house three and a half years ago and decided to try outdoor planting, but I did and (surprise! surprise!) haven't managed to keep anything going at all. Every year I have the ugliest yard on the block, every year I try to do something about it, and every year I swear off planting once and for all.


No! This year I invested in peat moss to change the soil quality (thanks, Mom), laid edging, newspaper and mulch to keep the weeds down and the grass out, have sprayed the leaves with Ann's rancid rabbit repellent* to steer the rabbits in another direction, and actually read one of the gardening books I checked out from the library and actually learned something from it . And I paid daily attention to the plants.

So, this week one of the plants I planted with my very own hands has (wait for it.... wait for it...)


I know this is not a major feat for most people. But my little bloom is blogworthy in my book, and marks what I hope to be a turning point.

*Rancid Rabbit Repellent Recipe: one egg, some milk, a little bit of dawn dish soap and some water.



Patron: Could you help me an an EIN?
Me: ein... Wort? Flugzeug. es gehört Ihnen.*

I crack me up.**

A patron wanted to find an Employer Identification Number for a report she was submitting to something or other. I didn't think that information would be available (wouldn't they be confidential? like SSNs?), much less freely available, but I played along. I checked the databases we subscribed to, did a quick search to find EINfinder and FEINfinder, (neither are free, though they both offer 'trial' searches) and then did a quick read of a Wikipedia article (shhhhh) to gather more clues. Nada.

I was surprised (guess I shouldn't have been) that the EIN numbers are not confidential. After the patron left in a hurry (to go to work where she knew she could access the number) I did some more looking around and found that businesses often verify a tax identification number. Also found that Melissa DATA includes a nonprofit organization lookup, which includes EINs.

*Translation: One...word? Airplane. It's aaalllll yours.
**Translation: I am SUCH a NERD. Sleep deprivation is no excuse. And no, I didn't actually say this during the transaction.

Need an obituary?

I have never needed to find an obituary, but there are people who do. And, sometimes those people ask librarians for help. And, sometimes that librarian is me.

And the day after I started composing this post on the off-chance that someone might ask me for help in finding an obituary (I wanted to be ready, you know) someone asked me for help...you guessed it...with finding an obituary from the 1960s.

Before getting started, there are a few things to remember. Remember that it costs money to publish an obituary -- it is quite possible that the obituary one is searching for was never published. Another aspect to keep in mind is that each state, county, and city has different procedures for archiving obituaries. A third consideration is that obituaries (and other vital records) are not always freely available. Oftentimes there is a fee* associated with the research time, and/or a fee associated with ordering or viewing the documents. With those things in mind, there are a few avenues to begin the search.

Ancestor Hunt offers a free obituary search, and has compiled information from states, counties and cities on how to dig deeper to find those places that archive or search for obituaries.

The National Obituary Archive has over 55 million people on file, and is free to search, but definitely is not comprehensive.

Ancestry.com includes an obituary search. The search is free, but the information is not. If you have access to Ancestry.com through your local library, take advantage of it!

*My library system offers a fee-based research option called INFORM.



That's it! I was trying to think of the term 'commonwealth' all weekend. Finally, after 24 hours of not being able to recall the term on my own, I just looked it up. Being a librarian, and all.

So, Puerto Rico is a commonwealth associated with the United States, and defined by the CIA World Factbook as "an unincorporated territory with commonwealth status." Citizens of Puerto Rico "possess all the rights and obligations of United States citizens such as paying Social Security, receiving federal welfare and serving in the armed forces, except for the right to vote in presidential elections and the obligation to pay federal taxes." More from the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration here.

Debate over political status continues.


La Llorona

Today I hosted one of the best workshops to date at the library. Anne Sawyer is a local puppeteer, and did an amazing job introducing young children to the wonder and beauty of shadow puppets. I was absolutely blown away. While she was setting up, she told me about a four-week shadow puppet project she did with Latino teens using the story of La Llorona.

La Llorona, Spanish for Weeping Woman, is a legend in Mexican folklore. She is the ghost of a woman whose two young children drowned...by her own doing, according to Wikipedia. Sometimes she can be benign ("La Llorona came to me and told me not to drink"), but more often she can be absolutely wicked and vindictive. Also, there is some speculation that La Llorona is La Malinche (the Aztec mistress of Cortés). But however her story is handed down (usually as a cautionary tale of some sort) everybody in Mexico knows who she is.


How thoughtful of Google

Well, here's something I didn't know. Every time I uploaded a picture to Oranges and Peaches, or Reader by Night, the picture is saved in my Picasa Web Album. I didn't realize that I was using Picasa until this weekend. How thoughtful of Google to save all those pictures for me!

Where else am I leaving my digital footprint without even realizing it?


John McCain hates me...

...and I'm okay with that! Provided he's not elected, that is...

“Now we’ve got the cables. We’ve got talk radio. We’ve got the bloggers. I hate the bloggers. I hate 'em. We’ve got all kinds of sources of information.”
Darn those peoples with their informations they gets from the Interwebs. Um...hopefully he was going for a laugh and doesn't actually hate the bloggers, but this is not very 2.0 of him.

Thanks to the DH for informing me...


A Fourth of firsts

I contemplated titling this post "girls rule and boys drool" because this July 4th happened to be a fantabulous girls' weekend. I spent the holiday weekend in Ohio Amish country with my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law and her mother, aunt and daughter, and I had the BEST. TIME. EVER. Seriously. And, it just happened to be a weekend of a few firsts.

I experienced my first...

...real auction. And it is very difficult to know the amount that you're actually bidding. The quilt auction we attended (to benefit the Ohio Crippled Children's Fund, a fund that benefits Amish children that do not have health care coverage) was run by professional auctioneers. To me, each opening bid sounded like this: jfdklafjdkajfk $700. Ajdkfl;djwkl;fjkdl;avcixzjvimfkeqnf $300. jfkel;ajfkdl;sajfdl;sajfkleaj $35. (Wait! Was that $35 or $135??) The auctioneers start with the price they think the quilt *should* go for, and go down from there. Once they have their opening bids they start going up. Not only does each auctioneer have their own style and own musical yodeling-like syllables they say between bids, they repeat the number they are *asking* for -- not the number they have. It goes fast, it's confusing, and it's not built for the person who needs a moment to hem and haw. But it rocks. I bid on four, and walked away with three pieces. It was exhilarating.

...trip into Amish territory. Of course, I had seen a horse and buggy on the road before, but had not actually been outnumbered by Amish people before. I came to recognize common Amish family names, the fact that they drive brown horses with black manes, the fact that they don't wear zippers or buttons, and just how loud a cruising buggy can be. It's incredible to look out across the countryside at night, and notice only 1 or 2 lights where you know there are at least 20 farms. It's also quite astonishing to be tailgated by a horse and buggy. :)

...pickled eggs. I had never heard of or seen pickled eggs before. That's fine, but the embarrassing part is that I needed a picture. I'm told my face was beet-red when I came back from taking a picture of the buffet. The beet and mustard eggs were delicious, though.

...genuine desire to figure out this new-fangled ebay thing. I have thought about it before, have listed it as a new year's resolution before, but not until now have I genuinely wanted to figure out how to use ebay. I want a heat transfer press machine. I want to make my own fabric, then quilt it. I want to copy Deborah Anderson's process she used for the Musings on the Bounty quilt that I saw at the Columbus Museum of Art. (I'm also on the lookout for a ukulele.)

...non-Boeing, non-Airbus plane. Thanks to the DH, knower of airplanes and all-around geek, I pay attention to whether I'm flying in a plane that Boeing manufactured or not. And, convinced that I had never seen the plane I flew with Midwest airlines before, I (for the first time) examined the in-flight safety manual to discover that the plane was manufactured in Canada by the Bombardier group. It was also my first time getting on a plane from the ground, rather then from the jet way.

...interval of time with my sister-in-law without the guys around. Which was great. For that matter, I think this might have been the first time I spent a significant amount of time with my mother-in-law without the guys around too. And, it was definitely a first significant amount of time with the other ladies as well. Love the guys, love the girl time too.

However, it was not the first time that I scared people with my enthusiasm. While standing in line for lunch at the auction (for the best chicken, noodles, and pie), an Amish gentleman asked me if I was having a good time. I blurted out "I'm having the BEST. TIME. EVER!" at him. He just... kind of... turned away.

Honestly, I would do the same thing, but in my defense --- *he* asked!


Don't forget to breathe, don't forget to be awesome

People have had to remind me to breathe - literally - and it was usually in anxiety-producing situations. My violin teachers reminded me to breathe during performances, my professors reminded me to breathe during presentations, my yoga instructors reminded me to breathe during yoga. (Well, breathing is a big part of yoga -- but they specifically reminded me from time to time to take a breath). I don't know why, but when I'm really tense I forget to breathe. Not for long, of course. And, you know? Things just tend to be easier when I remember to breathe.

I cannot believe how outstandingly busy it is at the library these days (which, is a great thing) but this introvert gets worn out by the end of each day. I have a decent extroverted skill set, but it has been tested at great lengths for the last four weeks. Sometimes I have to remind myself to be tactful and gracious; sometimes I have to remind myself to breathe.

One of my awesome teen volunteers* hand-made a DFTBA button for me, and it couldn't have come at a better time. DFTBA, part of the nerdfighter** lexicon, stands for "don't forget to be awesome." Nerdfighters, among other things, are by definition made of awesome. Saying "don't forget to be awesome" to a nerdfighter is like saying "don't forget to breathe." She gave it to me at the end of the day yesterday, when I was feeling particularly agitated by the sheer volume of activity. And, you know? Things just tend to be easier when I remember to be awesome.

So, if you need a reminder too -- here it is. Don't forget to breathe, and don't forget to be awesome.

*This the same volunteer who made my the wall of man candy.
*Nerdfighters are "proud to be nerdy and intelligent, and who fight to decrease world suck." See how it started here, how it continues here, and read more about the Project for Awesome.