Mountlake Terrace Library Blog

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Free Gadget Coaching This Weekend

Do you have a great new electronic gadget (cell phone, digital camera, mp3 player, etc.) but are frustrated trying to figure it out? Bring in your gadget to get personal help from our talented and patient Teen Tech Coaches. We expect to have 8 coaches this weekend, so there should be plenty of help to give you the personal attention you need!

Saturday March 25th from 1-3pm at the Mountlake Terrace Library.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Rules for New Grandparents

My first grandchild was born yesterday, a boy who my son and his wife named Atticus Jackson, also known as A.J. I think my son is already planning on his son being an athlete, so A.J. is a good athlete’s name. But he also named him after Atticus Finch of To Kill a Mockingbird fame – when my son was in law school he talked of becoming a civil rights lawyer like Atticus – so it is fitting.

The birth of my first grandchild gets me to thinking about the nature of grandparenthood.

I want to be the best grandparent I can be, but what makes a good grandparent?

Here is what I have come up with so far.

Respect the new parents. Yes, you have years of experience, but things change. When my son was born, parents were supposed to put the baby on his stomach with his head turned to the side. Now that is frowned upon. Babies are supposed to sleep on their backs. When my children were small, we were still listening to Dr. Spock. My kids think he is someone from “Star Trek.”

Be a good guest. When you visit your grandchildren, you are also a guest of your son or daughter who have set up their own homes with their spouses. Guests do not come in and take over. One time when my mother was visiting, I came home from work to find she had changed the curtains in my kitchen. That is not being a good guest.

Remember birthdays and holidays, but if you didn’t teach your own children to send thank you notes, don’t expect your grandchildren to. We aren’t born with good manners.

Show joy when you see your grandchildren, and be their biggest cheerleaders. Make them feel they light up the room and your life the instant you see them. That kind of joy aimed at them will go a long way toward good self-esteem.

Read to your grandchildren. When my children were little, the bedtime ritual was a ride on “The Old Gray Mare” to bed (me on all fours singing and swaying - not a pretty sight), and they were allowed to choose two books to be read to them. Never mind that they would always choose the longest books (The Velveteen Rabbit is so long). No matter how exhausted we might have been, if we dared to try to save some time and skip a page or even a paragraph, we would hear, “Hey you skipped that!” They knew every book by heart. Maybe that was because we had to read the same ones so many times.

Don’t break your son's or daughter’s rules. Yes, we want our grandchildren to love us and look forward to going to Glammy’s house, but if you want to continue to have a good relationship with your own child, better get hip to the new rules. But that doesn’t mean we can’t make them fun!

Leave the heavy discipline to your son or daughter. Make sure you know what your role is when it comes to discipline. You want your grandchildren to look forward to seeing you, not to go to Glammy’s kicking and screaming and crying child abuse.

You are not the only grandparent. In fact there could be four of you! If you didn’t learn to share when you were younger, you must learn to share now. I know, it's not easy.

Make memories together. Whether it’s watching old Bette Davis movies, playing Parcheesi or teaching the dog to flip a potato chip off its nose and catch it, those are all things your grandchild will remember fondly. Be a part of his or her world and really listen to their interests and ideas.

Skype. If you live too far away to see the grandchildren regularly, here is the next best thing.

Babysit. What better way to bond with your grandchildren?
I moved far away from my mother right after college. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time. Everyone in Michigan wanted to move to California. When my son was born, I had to hand him over to a stranger when I went back to work. It was very difficult. I remember asking my colleagues at work, "Who takes care of your children? The reply would inevitably be, “My Mom.” Never had I wished more that I had not moved away, California not withstanding. Besides, the Summer of Love was over and now I was awash in diapers and childcare issues. My mother would have loved to care for my son or daughter. Of course, they would have been in a high chair until they were 6, wearing bibs and eating toast every morning to “keep them regular,” but still… There is a saying, “A grandmother is a babysitter who watches the kids instead of television.” That would have given me a peace of mind I never had as a working Mom.

Speaking of babysitting…

DRUM ROLL PLEASE…as I make this segue…C'mon folks, you know me by now.

If you have been reading this blog, you know it's all about Polaris right now. Our new computer system is due to go live on March 30, and in the meantime, we are asking you all to "Babysit-a-Book." Spend some extra quality time with your borrowed library materials, check out more than usual,and keep them until after April 9.

That will really help us. The fewer returned materials for us to check in means we can focus on getting Polaris up and running to serve you better. No library materials will be due from March 21 to April 9 (however, this does not apply to materials that are currently overdue).

So if you don't have grandchildren or you live too far away to babysit, you can babysit our books for us!

Now, if you will excuse me, I need to go practice my “Good Grandparenting” skills!

And you experienced grandparents out there…Anything you want to share?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Weighing in on the Oscars

You didn't actually think that I could let the Academy Awards come and go and not comment, did you?

I don't know if I go along with the Oscars being "The Super Bowl for Women," but it's definitely "The Super Bowl for Movie Lovers," and I am a "dyed in the wool" Filmophile, so I look forward to this event every year. Did I not call The Hurt Locker as Best Picture last year even before it was nominated? Yes, I did.

I love the Red Carpet, the cheesy production numbers (who can forget Rob Lowe singing Proud Mary with Snow White?) and all of the energy and, yes, flubs that live television can produce (remember the streaker and David Niven's quick response?). So it was with the usual excitement that I sat down on the couch in my Academy Award finery with my flute of champagne to watch the stars razzle and dazzle.

And then...thud.

Not only did I lose the family competition by one (I had 17 out of 24 which is darn good, I think, but not enough to beat my son's 18), but the show was boring. Now I know it has a general reputation for being boring to those of you who do not follow the world of movies religiously. But it was even boring for me. And when I say boring, I mean borrrrrr.....ring!!!! And Anne Hathaway and James Franco as hosts were even worse than Letterman (who can forget "Uma...Oprah...Oprah...Uma?).

What struck me at the outset was the lack of production numbers, which, as I said, I actually look forward to. Everything just seemed rushed from one award to the next. And still was three hours long. How was that possible?

Anyway, here are my awards for this year's Academy Awards.

  • Most Missed Award. There was a reason why Billy Crystal's entrance was greeted with huge applause. The show needed him. It makes me laugh just thinking of what he would have said after Melissa Leo's expletive or when Kirk Douglas wouldn't leave the stage. That kind of show needs someone with a quick wit and great sense of humor to make the most of those flubs and stomach-churning moments and keep the show rolling along.

  • The Award for Most Mystifying Moment. Please tell me why Anne Hathaway sang "On My Own" to Hugh Jackman followed by James Franco coming out dressed as Marilyn Monroe? How many people even knew he was dressed as Marilyn? Were we supposed to get that?

  • The Bob Who? Award. If Anne and James were there to attract the "young demographic," why bring Bob Hope into the mix? No one younger than 40 probably even knew who he was. And it was just a reminder to us older folks how much fun the show used to be when he was on!

  • The "Nobody Cares About the Irving Thalberg Award" Award. This is one of the big moments for someone in the movie business, and I didn't even realize Francis Ford Coppola had won it. Granted I was drinking the requisite champagne, but there he was, lumped in with Jean Luc Godard and Eli Wallach, who won Honorary Awards, and not one of them was allowed to give a speech! That is outrageous!

  • The Most Boring Red Carpet Award. I have always enjoyed the Red Carpet and trash talking the TV as the dresses paraded by. And now we have even been robbed of this innocent pastime. With all of the stars now having stylists, no one looks bad anymore...and what fun is that?

  • The Dead AND Forgotten Award. Cory Haim was left out of the In Memoriam segment AGAIN, first at the SAG Awards and again at the Oscars. What's the deal? He was a talented young actor who starred in Lucas and The Lost Boys. Peter Graves and Betty Garrett also didn't make the cut. Don't they qualify as much as Pierre Guffroy or Edward Limato?

  • The Twit Tweets Award. Can you believe that James Franco was tweeting all during the show? I noticed it as Anne and he first came out and then I thought "Isn't that cute? He's so excited to be on the Oscars that he is tweeting it." But then he not only kept doing it, he showed his lack of excitement by sleepwalking through the rest of the show! There was speculation that he was doing more than tweeting backstage, if you know what I mean.

  • The Award for Most Cringeworthy Moment. Kirk Douglas. Kirk, Kirk, Kirk. It takes quite an ego to prolong the agony for what is probably the biggest night of an actor's life. He must not have seen Helena Bonham Carter's face as he kept saying, "You know..." every time he went to announce Best Supporting Actress. She looked like she was thinking, "You bloody Yank. Get on with it!" And then they couldn't get him off the stage.

  • Best Cringe-inducing Speech. Melissa Leo's speech was a spectacle right up there with Sacheen Littlefeather and Jack Palance's one-armed pushups!

And finally, the award for Best New Library Star goes to....POLARIS!

If you haven't already heard, the new star of our show is Polaris. And it has all of the pizzazz, glamour and fast pace that the Oscars lacked.

This new computer system will have the ability to freeze holds during our customer's vacations so they won't lose their place in the queue, create reading lists, get better search results, and more.

Classes will be held in community libraries to introduce customers to all of the cool features Polaris has to offer and Webinar Preview Sessions will be available on Monday, March 21 at 2:30pm and 7:00pm. Email to register.

So stay-tuned for all of the excitement Polaris will bring.

We promise. Nothing boring or cringeworthy. Just a valuable 21st century community resource that will give our customers a more powerful library experience.

I wish that last Academy Awards show could say the same thing.