Mountlake Terrace Library Blog

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Royal Wedding - Reporting Live from My Living Room Couch

If you have been reading this blog, it should come as no surprise that I would stay up all night to watch the Royal Wedding in real time. With the wedding at 3am Pacific Time and the kiss on the balcony scheduled for 5:25, it’s going to be a long night, but I had two cups of black tea at 8:30pm, so I think I am good to go.

9:15pm. Arrive home from work.
Oh, good, my William and Kate paper dolls came in the mail today.
Can't wait to watch the Royal Wedding.
This calls for my best PJ’s – the ones that say “I (heart) London"- and of course, I must wear a fascinator.
The dogs have to get ready too. A bowtie for Tarquin; a tiara for Mildred, and Freddy will be in full livery as he will be buttling during the event.
Pimm’s Cup anyone?

9:30-11:30pm. Killing time until the wedding guests start arriving at Westminster Abbey.
Watched “American Idol.” (Casey was kicked off). Watching an “ International House Hunters” episode. Yawn. Next an old Bill Maher I had Tivo’d, and the latest episode of “The Real Housewives of New York City.” Sigh.
Bored, but doing pretty well so far.

11:30pm. My son calls.
He tells me his mother-in-law will also be staying up all night. He comments that I am talking fast and loud. Must be the tea kicking in.

Midnight. – toggling between ABC, BBC and CBUT – can’t decide which one to watch. An awful lot of blathering and fluff going on no matter what channel I choose.

1:20am. The Beckhams arrive.
Love her dress. Not sure about her hat.
My husband is trying to show his support by staying up, but is struggling. He is on his 3rd cup of espresso. I, on the other hand, am full of energy and chattering like a magpie.

1:30am. Oh, there’s Elton.
He’s sitting in the back on a plastic chair (Sharon Osbourne later comments that it was probably the first time Elton’s fanny ever sat on a plastic chair!)

2am. Prime Minister Cameron arrives.
His wife isn’t wearing a hat. Scandalous.
I look over on the other side of the couch. Freddy has collapsed and ceased buttling. Tarquin’s bowtie is askew and Mildred’s tiara is lopsided.

2:10am. Prince William emerges from Clarence House with Harry. Uncontrolled clapping on my part ensues.
They look splendid. Tall and handsome in their uniforms, but of course they would look wonderful. They are Diana’s boys.
Harry looks a bit hung over, though.

2:20am. Harry and William arrive at Westminster Abbey.
They visit with the guests.
Can’t help but think how happy William looks, unlike Charles when he married Diana.

2:38 am. Kate’s mother and brother have arrived.
Some of the Royals are entering the church. Barbara Walters calls them the “lesser royals.” I wonder how they would feel about that. I have never seen so many fascinators in one place.
Glad I have mine on.

2:45am. Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie..
Yikes! What is that on Beatrice’s head? Looks like a Lady Gaga moment! I wonder how they feel about their mother not being invited.

2:50am. The Queen and Prince Philip arrive.
The Queen is a vision in yellow amd carrying her everpresent handbag (matching, of course).
I wouldn’t mind being Queen.

3am. Kate emerges from the car.
I guess I shouldn't call her Kate. She prefers Catherine.
Oh, she looks gorgeous.
Her dress is reminiscent of Grace Kelly’s dress when she married Prince Rainier. Kate's, I mean Catherine's, sister Pippa looks beautiful – love her dress – and as she follows Catherine, holding the hands of the little flower girls, it is very touching especially with the dramatic music. (Later, there was much speculation on whether or not it was appropriate for Pippa to also wear white. And yes, it is. In the UK, the bridesmaids usually include little girls and their outfits mimic the bride’s. Just thought you would like to know).

Harry sneaks a peak back as Catherine comes up the aisle and says to William “Wait 'til you see her.” Yes, I can lip-read.
William keeps looking straight ahead. When Catherine arrives at the altar with her father, William says, “You look sensational, Babe. Really beautiful.”
Or that’s what I think he says.

I have been texting with my daughter-in-law who is up feeding her new baby. She said her husband (my son)"popped out to see the dress," which I find funny since he had told me earlier he wouldn't be caught dead watching. He had told me to "enjoy your Super Bowl."

The ceremony is lovely, but I find it anti-climactic once they are pronounced married. I wanted to see them get married, and then walk back down the aisle to trumpets and bell-ringing to greet the awaiting crowd.
The rest of the wedding is a bit of a snooze fest. Can’t believe I have to stay up at least another hour or so to see them on the balcony.
Dogs and husband sound asleep and those two cups of tea are wearing off.

5:30am. William and Catherine emerge from Buckingham Palace onto the balcony.
Not one kiss but two!! History is made!

Yay! I did it!

I was there as it all unfolded. Just as I was when Diana was married, and just as I was for her funeral.

As I write this, I am thinking about the days leading up to the wedding.
There was a lot of grousing about it, asking why we should care about this wedding when there is so much tragedy in the world, such as the tornadoes in the South, the earthquake in Japan, Libya and on and on.

But that is just the point.

It is because of all of that misery that we need a bright spot in the midst of the darkness and what brighter spot than a beautiful wedding starring beautiful people who are in love? With all of the chaos in the world, why not celebrate something positive?

What does this have to do with libraries? Nothing really – except to say, next time you are in the library, take a look at your friendly library staff and know that each and every one of them has interests, passions, and experiences outside the library that lends something unique and positive to your interaction with them inside the library. Great Britain, the Royal Family, Princess Diana – those just happen to be some interests of mine. And watching the wedding made me happy. I came to work today happy. And that’s a good thing, right?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Spring Clean and Spice Up Your Wardrobe

Happy Earth Day! Recycling is great, but even better is to reuse unwanted items. This weekend the Mountlake Terrace Library can help you do that in style:

Is your closet so full, you can barely get in there? Are you drawers full of stuff you bought, wore once, and never took out again? Do you have too many shoes? Clean out your closet, purge your bookshelves, and lighten the load. Bring in unwanted, clean clothing and books in good condition for our first ever book and clothing swap! Pick up some new (to you) items.

I love clothing swaps. In fact right this minute I'm wearing pants and a sweater I got at a clothing swap. There is something wonderful about being able to get rid of things you are iffy about and have someone else love them!

Come into the library this weekend with your discards, pick up a few new things, and we will take all the leftovers to be donated to the Friends of the Library and a community charity.

Reuse, Reread, Rewear: Book and Clothing Swaps
Teen - Friday April 22nd, 3-5:30
Children and Adults - Saturday April 23rd, 11-2

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A.J. Goes to the Library

I have been out in the world for almost a month now and I think I have the sleeping, eating and crying thing down.

Now I want to go to the library.

Maybe if I show some interest in Opening Day of baseball, my Dad will take me.

Nope. He's totally immersed.

M-m-m. What to do?

I need to get to the library to check out Polaris, the new online library catalog I've heard so much about.
It's all my Glammy talks about - how I can get better search results to find my library materials faster, how I can personalize my library experience by keeping track of my favorite books that my parents read to me, and I will even be able to rate, review and share titles with my other baby friends.

I have to get there.

I need to work on my Mom.

Pssst. Hey, Mom, over here. How can you resist this cute baby routine I am doing?

Well, that didn't work. Let's see if the adorable sleeping baby ploy works.

Score! She's got me dressed and ready to go, and I am stylin' if I do say so myself

Off we go!

Polaris, Tumblebooks and Baby Story Time, here I come!

There you are, Library. Yay!

OK, let's see. First I will hit the picture books - I want the latest Babar book, Goodnight Moon, Are you My Mother? many to choose from. If I can't find what I want, I will ask that nice librarian over there.

Then it's over to the DVDs (I can get 10 at a time - for free!), then off to Baby Story Time, and after that, I will probably crawl over to the preschool computers and give them a look. OK, I can't crawl yet, but my Mom will take me over there.

And then I'm going to...

***An hour later***


There is just so much to do at the library, I think I overdid it.

But I will be back. The library has materials and services for all ages of my life.
My parents have given me a good start by making the library an important part of my life.

I love you, Library!

And I love you, too, Polaris -- you are so easy to use, even a baby can do it!

Friday, April 1, 2011


How can you tell if a blonde has been using the computer? Answer: There’s whiteout on the screen.

C’mon, people have a sense of humor. Blonde jokes have been around since the beginning of time. Or, at least since the invention of peroxide. And I can tell this joke, because yesterday, I did something I never thought I would.

I went blonde.

I needed to do something with my hair and just didn’t know what to do. I did know I needed a change, so I went for it. Now I guess I can find out first hand if blondes have more fun.

And this small act got me to thinking about change and all of the changes that have occurred in my life over the last few years. My two children leaving home, my husband and I packing up and moving to Seattle after over 30 years in California, two weddings and a grandchild over the course of just 3 years…lots of change.

Change is hard.

For example, have you ever tried to change something as simple as your daily routine? When I get up in the morning, I go downstairs, have exactly ½ cup of orange juice mixed with Perrier or San Pellegrino (I know, I am a terrible snob), go back upstairs, turn on “Ellen” or “Inside Edition,” which I TIVO’d from the day before, shower, put in contacts, make the bed, get dressed, style hair, brush teeth, put on make-up, go downstairs, make tea, take tea to car and head for work.

Change one little thing and it will discombobulate my whole day.

For example, my husband almost always gets up before I do. However, if for some reason he is still in bed when my routine requires that it is now time to make the bed, I can’t continue to step 6, which is get dressed, until he has vacated the room. He has to get out of the bed so I can make it. He also can’t be in the room or either bathroom, because I need all of that space to get ready.

I also have an evening routine.

When I come home from work (if I am not going to the gym, where I must admit my motivation has flagged somewhat lately), I must take exactly seven almonds and something to drink (I will let you guess what that is) upstairs to watch” The View” (again which I Tivo’d earlier that day – I love you Tivo!). I might deign to talk to my husband a bit before that, but this is my evening ritual before I can eat my dinner.

I am sure I am not the only one with rituals.

Even my dogs can’t seem to proceed without their morning ritual. They get up with my husband so they are downstairs with him. As soon as they hear my footsteps upstairs – and I mean I can’t even tiptoe to the bathroom without them hearing me – the cacophony of whining begins. If for some reason, I take too long to get up, the littlest one, my darling Tarquin, sits outside the bedroom door whining. We have tried putting up a baby gate to keep them from getting upstairs before I get up, but Tarquin can collapse his bones like a little rat and squeezes through the stair railing to get to me.

And why all of this interest in my getting up?

Because I stupidly made the mistake of giving them treats in the morning when I arrive downstairs, and now I am part of their morning ritual and eternally associated with chicken jerky.

But just because it is difficult to change, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do it.

When I yell at my husband to get out of bed so I can get dressed, I don’t feel good about it. And I am not particularly thrilled to think that my beloved dogs have a mental image of chicken jerky when they think of me.

Change is good.

Change can revitalize you.
Now that I am a blonde I feel younger and enjoy flipping my hair around. I think I get better service in stores too.

Change can help you discover something you might never have discovered.
When I moved to Seattle I discovered that I could reinvent myself – that even as a woman of a certain age, I could be an adventurer and adapt to new situations.

Change will get you out of a rut.
After I moved, I realized I had been bored and not getting out and doing things.

I am not saying that we must change just for the sake of changing. But we need to be aware of the signs that change is needed. Doing nothing will lead to just that – nothing.

And that brings me around to Polaris.

As I am sure you are all aware, Polaris has arrived.

Our new online library catalog is ALIVE – up and running.

This is the system we use to track books and other items owned by the library system, manage cardholder accounts, holds and other behind-the-scenes library processes. Over the last few months, library staff has been trained, and we have been learning new processes and overcoming some of the kinks that are inevitable when such a big change occurs. We thank our customers for their patience as we all get accustomed to the new system.

What would have happened if we had not made this change?

Yes, it would have been easier to stick with what we knew, but the signs that change was needed were there. Our old system was 20 years old and not capable of providing the services our customers have come to expect from today’s online environment. The old system’s company was not going to provide technical support anymore, and our customers were asking for services our old system could not provide. If we had stuck with the old and familiar, we would not have been responding to the needs of our library customers.

Now our computer system is revitalized.
Our customers will get better results when searching the catalog.

Now our library customers can discover new things.
They can save searches and be alerted via email when new items matching that search are added to the collection; they can easily see the number of copies we own, add ratings and reviews, choose their own login and password, keep a history of items checked out, if they choose and more.

And Polaris has gotten us out of the rut that the old system was in.
It couldn’t provide some of the services our customers were asking for, such as freezing and unfreezing holds without losing their place in the queue, keeping a history of items checked out, if they so choose, and adding ratings and reviews.

Will it be hard to learn?

No, just ask the blonde at the front desk. I will be happy to show you how easy it is.