Tuesday, November 29, 2005


For a few years I sent my mother a postcard each week. My life was not nearly exciting enough to provide a real letter's worth of news and my mother wanted something more than a phone call. At first she was disappointed with mere postcards but, as they piled up, she got so she liked looking at the pictures on them as well as reading them.

Since Mom is no longer around I have a big stack of postcards and no one to send them to.

Actually, I think I'll crank up my postcarding. I sent three today -- one to my brother & his wife, one to an old high school buddy, and a third to my stepmother. I got good at saying just a few things. My letters have tended to the long-winded, which was one of the reasons I got to dread writing them. A postcard, rather like a sonnet, say, is a severely limited plot on which to set up a garden. One can, nevertheless, say something of substance and it's fun to see what.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Info Desk Blogging

Threatening rain. When I went out this afternoon on my break I caught a few drops. But it doesn't look like anything's coming down now.

I mentioned it yesterday but it was officially announced to the library today: next week I will no longer be a Library Assistant ... I will be a Library Specialist II. You're impressed, right? Say you're impressed.

A man and his son (?) of maybe 12 just came to the Info Desk. Man asked if boy could check out books with a photo ID, as he'd forgotten his library card. I said he could buy a replacement card at the circulation desk. The boy said, "I already talked to them." Man said, "What did they say?" "That I need my library card." Man and I exchanged a glance and man and boy walked out together.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


A week from now I'll be looking at my first Monday in a new job. I interviewed for the nine openings at the library. Eight were halftime positions in the branches. The ninth, a fulltime job, was in the same department I'm in currently, Technical Services. With the budget crisis there was a hiring freeze that kept a position in Cataloging unfilled for a couple years. Finally TS got the OK to put a person into that.

I was offered & accepted the Cataloging job. I'm looking forward to the change. New supervisor, different cubicle (smaller but with a window!), new duties.

Kent & I had a pleasant Thanksgiving. K soaked the turkey overnight in a brine of salt, sugar & spices, then cooked it in the barbecue on the back patio for several hours Thanksgiving Day. He also made stuffing, fingerling potatoes, and spinach salad. All very good. After dinner we drove up the hill to a friend's house for company and dessert.

Have to catch up on a few things today -- pay bills, turn the compost, throw out old newspapers.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

comments on "House Overlook", version 4

Kent suggests reducing the number of "overlooked"s, especially in the first stanza. "Doesn't add anything, gets annoying," he says.

I've read it over and at present I don't agree. Or rather, for me the repetition is interesting and not annoying. But this is version 4, after all; changes have been made up to now. I'm open to thinking about others.

Again I'm most dubious about the ending. Although I do prefer version 4 to version 3.

I made this version while dinner was imminent (Kent cooking) and the radio was on, I think. So just as I posted it was my first clear reading.

House Overlook, version 4

The house on top of the hill overlooked everything.
It overlooked my house and me and my dog as she squatted and peed,
and it overlooked the street where a few drops of rain fell.

There were mountains that stood on clouds,
and the house overlooked them, too.
The house overlooked what passed,
and what never came near.

The house overlooked the wind carrying dust.
I turned my head, and the wind blew by.
The house overlooked trees and the birds in trees and the leaves
and the colors of the leaves.

I moved to another country where the houses rise at first light like farmers
and seem to get a lot of work done.
I look out the window.
I am busy all the time now.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

comments on "House Overlook", version 3

If you're curious: version 1 and version 2

I like the 3rd version best so far. Still having most trouble finding an ending.

House Overlook, version 3

The house on top of the hill overlooked everything.
It overlooked my house and me and my dog as she squatted and peed,
and it overlooked the street where a few drops of rain fell.

There were mountains which sometimes seemed to stand on clouds,
and the house overlooked them, too.
The house overlooked what passed by,
things passing as they do.

The house overlooked the wind carrying dust.
As I turned my head, the wind blew over me.
The house overlooked trees and the birds in trees and the leaves
and the colors of the leaves.

I moved to another country where the houses rise at first light like farmers
and seem to get a lot of work done.
I look out the window.
How high up I am.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Info Desk Blogging

Short week. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. And Monday is almost done.

And that's not just the work day. I see the light fading on the other side of the library's glass doors.

It's been pretty quiet at the Info Desk this hour, but I'm not full of things to say.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Info Desk Blogging

Nice warm day. When the wind kicks up on a late fall day here in Berkeley, as it did when I was pushing my way to a cafe for lunch, one worries about fires. The 20th C saw two big ones. One in 1923, another in 1991.

I was here for the 1991 fire. A friend and I were headed to the Berkeley Marina for a picnic. An ugly plume of smoke began to rise to the southeast. By the time we got to the Marina we could see the flames, tiny in the distance but obviously leaping over the houses on the hill.

I'm sure nothing like that's going to happen today. Have had some power fluctuations in the building, which crashed the database program, but things seem to be up and running again. Just now I was trying to access one of the Electronic Resources the library links to. I've been attending trainings on how to use this new stuff so I try them out whenever I have opportunity. I was trying WorldCat, which has listings for the holdings of libraries all over the place. WorldCat was very ... very ... slow. I didn't get a response till the inquiring patron had to leave. Tsk.

We need new maps! The map that was produced for the grand opening is getting more and more out of date. Maybe one of the new hires will be assigned to produce it. Lots of hiring going on. The library wasn't hiring during the budget troubles so when people left (retired, moved, etc) they couldn't be replaced. Looks like replacement time has arrived.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Was Sulu my favorite Star Trek character? Hm. Let's see. I liked him better than Captain Kirk. I liked him better than Spock. I liked him better than Scottie. Unlike Uhura he wasn't stuck in a mini-skirt. And, yes, the episode where he takes up a sword and runs through the Enterprise shirtless -- that was my favorite Sulu episode. I wish he'd carved up Spock, frankly.

Turns out he's gay. Right on, Mr Takei!

Thanks to Trek Connection for the photo.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

cat pee

I've talked here before about cat pee. I threw out several books I'd brought home from my mother's house after one of our cats doused them.

Well, the night we were packing for our Hawaii trip we trapped the cats inside the house and the one I'd suspected all along gave me a puddle of confirmation for my suspicions. Was he frightened? Mad at being trapped indoors?

I discovered the dark smelly spot on the sideroom bed when I was mostly done packing and ready to sleep. I threw out the books, should I throw away the bed?

When I was looking for cat pee remedies on the internet they all talked about getting the smell out of rugs & fabrics. Soaking books in some solution didn't seem like a good idea, especially for books I could easily replace. But sheets and pajamas go through the wash all the time so what the hell. I mixed up the formula Kent had used to de-skunk the dog.

Hydrogen peroxide
Baking soda

I don't suppose you should use a lot of water, as it's probably not good to dilute the forumla too much. But I needed enough solution to squeeze through the cloth. I was also afraid the peroxide would bleach the color out. In the case of the cat pee impregnated sheets, however, bleaching would be better than throwing them away.

It really works. Wonders. Sniff the cleaned bedding as I might, I can't find a hint of cat pee. Not a suggestion, not an echo. Wonders. ... and no bleaching!

I left off treating the foam mattress until we got back from our trip so the pee was well dried and who knew if the miracle solution would work the same miracle on old dry pee? I am happy to report it did. Big yay!

And all that time alone in the house did the cat(s) confine their wettings to the litter box? Sadly, no. However, I did have the foresight to pile old newspapers on the most likely targets and, yes, the newspapers were pee damp when we got back. Yuck, huh? Some pee seems to have soaked down to my boxes of stuff but it looks like only a few papers were affected and only at the edges. I'll whip up some anti-pee solution and dip the edges. Updates to follow.

Friday, November 11, 2005


We got back late Saturday night from a ten day Hawaii vacation. Big Island. Shorts & flipflops, snorkeling, reading on the beach.

Monday morning Kent banged on the door at the pet hospital where we board Flash. Here to pick up dog! ... No dog for him to pick up.

Flash died Saturday night or sometime on Sunday. The place is closed Sunday but of course someone comes through to check on the animals. The doctor told Kent that he only found out about Flash late Sunday night.

We have been mourning our dear doggy since. Wish we could've been with her in her last days. Seeing Kent she would have been happy, being home again, she often came to me for comfort when she was nervous.

She was an elderly dog. I've mentioned her breathing problems. Maybe she couldn't breathe, the diagnosis that said she had a frozen larynx, maybe it locked up and she couldn't catch a breath. She had some bad nights like that. Maybe the workers medicated her for it and overmedicated her.

Kent said when the doctor checked her out a few months ago he was surprised by the strength of her lungs and heart. Flash was older than the average dog her size. I remember when Peanuts, the cat I grew up with, was quite old. He got an absessed tooth. It was a simple operation only requiring a local anesthetic so we had the vet remove the tooth and Peanuts regained his lost weight. But within a couple months his weight dropped again. Turned out a tumor had grown under his tongue. The vet, apologetic, said he'd seen no evidence of the tumor when he'd taken out the tooth. Well, you get old. I don't know what ended Flash's life.

She was a sweet girl. We got a nice card from the workers at the pet hospital. That's what they called her, "sweet". She was sweet, gentle, friendly, obedient, pretty.

In her last months I tried not to scold her -- for sneaking into the back yard for a dug up treat of kitty poo (I would wave her away), for tiptoeing upstairs to steal cat food, for raiding the kitchen garbage, things she knew K & I didn't want her doing but when our disapproving superegos weren't in the house, her craving little id led her wet nose. I decided she deserved sneaking a few goodies if I'd been remiss in blocking her access. I could see she was old, getting a little deaf, her eyes slightly clouded, rarely active. But she had a bounce in her even in the week before our travel; I remember taking her some treat from the kitchen and she did her happy dance.

I come home and expect her to be here.

Kent laid her collar and the sympathy card in the corner by the bed where she would hunker down at night. Goodnight, Flashy. Good girl.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Info Desk Blogging

Heavy dark clouds. Radio this morning was saying rain, tho it hasn't. I wouldn't mind lugging my umbrella all the way home furled.

Not much writing time today. Rather busy. The usual questions: how do I get a library card, do you have internet.