Friday, January 11, 2019

Annoying But Helpful

Some of you may have noticed that I have lost some weight. As of today I have lost 25 lbs in 15 weeks. At this rate, by this time next year I should be a saggy sack of wrinkled skin. I should have done this while my skin was still elastic. A warning to you young folks.
This is a written run-down on the experience so you don't have to ask me about it, but you can if you want.

The program that has been offered by our state employee benefits group is responsible. I have taken away many useful strategies and recommend anyone interested to try this. But be forewarned: it's annoying. Well, I found it annoying. You have to watch these videos each week and they are presented by people who have clearly never had a weight issue in their lives. Perhaps they think they did, but I doubt it.
They also gesticulate in an annoying way and their "enthusiasm" and plastic smiles grated on my nerves. I got around this by just listening while doing an online jigsaw puzzle so I could flit back and forth in case there was some graph or visual other than a presenter that might be useful. I grew to hate the clothes, jewelry, make-up jobs, hairstyles, and lacquered fingernails. And augh! the scenes with the actors - head-bangingly over-the-top. Here, this will make you stop nagging me to eat faster; I'll cram food in my face! 
Other annoyances:
They recommended a 7:1 ratio of water and orange juice to sip on all day, which, oj lover that I am, I found disgusting and call "agent orange." They call it H2Orange or something. I continue to drink decaf chai tea without sugar.
The chips and peanuts exercise in the beginning was eye-rollingly silly. I consider potato chips to be a waste of my time - unless they can shovel yummy dips into my face. And I hate dry-roasted nuts. Give me regular oily roasted peanuts.
But a lot of what they say is useful, if reminiscent of what I've read about the behavior of people with anorexia: cutting your food into smaller pieces, eating slowly, pausing between bites, longer pauses during meals. When you're eating one taco, it's really hard to eat half of it for 10 minutes, pause for 5, and finish the rest lingeringly over another 10 minutes. Amazingly, I feel full even though I'm eating less.
The hardest part of this for me has been not snacking. Other than that, as long as you stay away from sugar you can eat what you really enjoy - and they want you to enjoy what you eat. This has led me to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to think of something I really want to eat. So, I still eat pizza (slowly) and other tasty things one ordinarily thinks of as fattening. Just less.
It was hard to not eat Missy's cake or any of the goodies people brought in over the holidays (and I love to bake and make things, so I brought them in and made you all eat them - hoping, no doubt, to make me look smaller by comparison. Sorry!), but I had pie at Thanksgiving and Christmas and the Christmas bread I make every year, toasted ... with butter all over it and still didn't derail the weight loss.

So, if you're interested, the link is below. It's free. All I can say is that I'm feeling better and have more energy. My pants slipping down is getting to be a nuisance, but in a good way - I guess.

Friday, January 05, 2018

Winter Woolies

Made this kitty paper-doll thing to go with Douglas Florian's poem, "Winter Wool" from his book Winter Eyes. Probably best printed on card stock. Remember: color before cutting!
The pants and the boots aren't mentioned in the poem, but there was room for them and perhaps some kitties would rather wear pants than skirts (but I made the skirt a kilt anyway).
The cat form is based on a sweet bear paper doll by Karen available here, but I made the clothes.
Feel free to use!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Lip Service To Sports

If you're like me, the idea of a summer reading program based on sports and being active is 1) a contradiction in terms and b) just not your thing. I rejected the idea of sports-oriented storytimes, even though I'd be doing them in a park. At the last minute, though, I changed my mind. Work out of your comfort zone, I told myself. There are plenty of picture books about sports and games. It's only eight storytimes. You can do this!

Yes, there are plenty of books, but not that many flannelboards or fingerplays. Oh, there's "Take Me Out To The Ballgame." I searched all over the internet and found some football related flannelboard stuff - but football (Amurrikin football) is a fall thing. And basketball is a winter thing. And summers down here are just too darn hot.

But I decided I could make up my own stuff, so I will share it here with you. Some may have been inspired by bits and pieces I've seen elsewhere, but most of this is just my own work. Have fun with them!


Hi-Ho It's Baseball Time!

The pitcher's on the mound,
The pitcher's on the mound,
Hi-Ho, it's baseball time,
The pitcher's on the mound.

The catcher's at the plate ...

The batter's in the box ...

The umpire calls the strikes ...

The fielder catches flies ...

The shortstop makes the play ...

The runner's out at third ...

The runner's safe at home ...

The crowd stands and cheers ...

The Ball In the Air

The ball in the air goes round and round,
round and round, round and round.
The ball in the air goes round and round
In the baseball field.

The bat in the hand goes swish-swish-swish ...
In the baseball field.

The glove on the hand goes up and down ...
In the baseball field.

The batter who hit goes 'round the bases ...
In the baseball field.

The umpire at the base yells, "Yeeeer out!" ...
In the baseball field.


Hi Ho It's Soccer Time!

The ball is out of bounds,
The ball is out of bounds,
Hi ho, it's soccer time,
The ball is out of bounds.

The player scores a goal ...

The yellow card is up ...

The player is offside ...

The whistle stops the play ...

(Yes, I know I'm overdoing this format)

We'll Be Running Down the Field

We'll be running down the field, yes we will.
We'll be running down the field, yes we will.
We'll be running down the field
When we play soccer for real.
We'll be running down the field, yes we will.

We'll be dribbling with our feet, yes we will.
We'll be dribbling with our feet, yes we will.
We'll be dribbling with our feet -
I thinks that's really neat!
We'll be dribbling with our feet, yes we will.

We will bounce the ball off ankles, knees, and head.
We will bounce the ball off ankles, knees, and head.
We will bounce the ball off ankles
'Cause using our hands rankles.
We will bounce the ball off ankles, knees, and head.

Head and Elbows, Knees and Toes

Head and elbows, knees and toes, knees and toes.
Head and elbows, knees and toes, knees and toes.
We don't use our hands to make a goal.
Head and elbows, knees and toes, knees and toes.


Splash and Kick
To "Down By the Station"

When the sun is shining,
I like to go swimming.
Swimming at the lake
Or swimming at the pool.
Splashing and kicking;
Water all around me.
Splash, splash, kick, kick,
Keeping cool.


I can dive.
(move hands flattened together)
I can swim.
(Swimming motion)
I can float
(hands out to sides with head thrown back)
And hold my breath.
(hold breath)
But dog paddle
(paddle like a dog)
Is the stroke
That I do best.

In My Swimming Pool
(To "Do Your Ears Hang Low")

I can stay real cool
In my little swimming pool.
On a sunny summer day
I can splash around and play.
When I wear my bathing suit,
I'll be cool and I'll be cute
In my swimming pool!


If You're Practicing For Football

If you're practicing for football, run in place.
If you're practicing for football, run in place.
If you want to play the game
Not to practice is a shame.
If you're practicing for football, run in place.

If you're practicing for football, touch your toes ...

If you're practicing for football, say "Hut-hut!"

Football Player

Football player, football player,
Throw the ball!
(Hold one hand back like you are going to throw a football)
Catch the pass!
(Pull both hands to chest as if catching a football)
Run and don't get tackled
(Pretend to run)
Run and don't get tackled
It's a touchdown! It's a touchdown!
(Hold both arms straight up to signal a touchdown.)

Martial Arts:

Only because there are those cute ninja books

Ninja, Ninja, Sneak Around

Ninja, ninja - sneak around.
Ninja, ninja - roll on the ground.
Ninja, ninja - climb up high.
Ninja, ninja - touch the sky.
Ninja, ninja - jump down low.
Ninja, ninja - go, go, go!

If You're a Ninja And You Know It!

If you're a ninja and you know it,
Be really quiet! (Shhh!)
If you're a ninja and you know it,
Be really quiet! (Shhh!)
If you're a ninja and you know it,
Then your face will surely show it.
If you're a ninja and you know it,
Be really quiet! (Shhh!)

If you're a ninja and you know it,
Walk on tip-toe (Tip toe.) ...

If you're a ninja and you know it,
Say HIYAH! (HIYAH!) ...

Five Little Ninjas

Five little ninjas creeping through the door.
One said HIYAH!, and then there were four.

Four little ninjas climbing up a tree.
One said HIYAH!, and then there were three.

Three little ninjas with nothing to do.
One said HIYAH!, and then there were two.

Two little ninjas having so much fun.
One said HIYAH!, and then there was one.

One little ninja on the run.
He says HIYAH! and then there were none.

Five Little Ninjas Jumping On the Bed
(Don't tell me you can't figure this one out on your own!)

Five little ninjas jumping on the bed.
One fell off and bumped his head.
Momma called the doctor and the doctor said,
"No more ninjas jumping on the bed!"



Don't forget that dance is highly athletic!

Ballet Dancer, Ballet Dancer

Ballet dancer, ballet dancer, turn around.
Ballet dancer, ballet dancer, touch the ground.
Ballet dancer, ballet dancer, stand on your toes.
Ballet dancer, ballet dancer, strike a pose.

Ballet dancer, ballet dancer, stretch to the sky.
Ballet dancer, ballet dancer, lift a leg high.
Ballet dancer, ballet dancer, pliƩ now.
Ballet dancer, ballet dancer, take a bow.


Friday, July 17, 2015

Summertime Storytime

Magnolia Park

This has probably been my least successful summer storytime experience. I had high hopes for the "Every Hero Has a Story" theme because it would give me a chance to break into the folktales, many of which are a bit beyond the usual pre-school level I aim at during the school year. What folktale doesn't have its hero?

Summer storytime at our library takes place mostly at the local parks, lovely venues with a shelter that offers shade. This began in the days when the air conditioning in the Children's Room was not working. It was a constant 82 degrees in there and at 10 am it would be cooler in the park, especially with a nice breeze going. They tried numerous times to repair the a/c, but if it worked, the a/c in the rest of the building didn't. Three years ago we moved into a brand new building and now freeze our toes off in summer.

I have discovered limitations to park storytimes including and not limited to: breezes blowing the flannelboard over (fixed that by using one that hung around my neck or one on a stick), hands getting too sticky for hand puppets (only stick puppets now), and groundskeepers' noise (... no real fix for that). Otherwise, we continue doing storytimes in the parks even though we have the lovely new building and working a/c.

The parks usually have children already there, whether they expected storytime or not. It might be difficult to get them to come listen but then again it acquaints more people with our library programs, so it's great PR. This year I had a bumper crop of kids from a nearby church's summer camp, but they weren't interested in storytime. Even after the adults forced them to get off the playground equipment and come sit in the shade, they would get bored and wander off. Subsequently, they were coerced before I got there to stay put, but I could see that they just weren't into what I was doing although the books were clearly aimed at the predominant group of older kids.

I had to rethink my whole plan. I set aside all the books I'd been so excited about (Robin Hood, Perseus, etc.) and fell back on Shark In the Park! I made 30 shark masks and combined two paper towel rolls to make a telescope. The storytime dwindled from 30 minutes to 15.

After July 4th, it usually all peters out and it happened again. The group didn't come and I had 30 Midas Mouse (I was sneaking some folktale back in with stick puppets) coloring sheets that were barely used. I had two kids and their grandma and they could not sit still.

It crept back up again when a different group came by last week. They had no idea I had been doing storytimes every week. Hurray! Now they know - although there are only 2 weeks left. Next week it's monkeys. It's more like pre-school storytime, but I just don't know who will be coming.

I will still continue with storytime in the parks, but I am on the fence about continuing with the summer themes in storytimes. On the one hand, it did not serve me well this summer and I had to throw out all the preparation I'd done (which was only one month's worth, but still!). On the other hand, the themes give me a chance to stretch myself. I might be choosing books I do not normally use and have to augment those choices with new flannel boards and fingerplays.

The main lesson is, and this works for all kinds of storytimes, Don't Be Afraid to Throw It All Out and Start Over.

Cambridge Park

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

If You're Happy And You Know It

I'm considering adding some new verses to this perennial favorite opening song.

If you're happy and you know it squeal in a pitch that makes paint peel.
If you're happy and you know it squeal in a pitch that makes paint peel.
If you're happy and you know it, your high-pitched squeal will show it.
If you're happy and you know it squeal in a pitch that makes paint peel.

If you're happy and you know it roll backwards and then forwards and slam your feet on the floor.
If you're happy and you know it roll backwards and then forwards and slam your feet on the floor.
If you're happy and you know it your somersaults will show it.
If you're happy and you know it roll backwards and then forwards and slam your feet on the floor.

My storytime regulars are so enthusiastic. No amount of correction from the mom seems to curb them. Don't squeal! No amount of correction from me seems to help. Stay seated!
And it just encourages the other children to try these variants on storytime behavior.

Sigh, only two more weeks of storytime and by the time I see them again, they'll be three to four months older and we'll see if we can start off with an Expected Behavior Lecture.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Phone Etiquette for Calling (Me at) Your Library

I don't always answer the phone here,
but when I do, I'm the Etiquette Police.

Okay, here's how it works. You call the library.

Ring! Ring!
Me: Your Local Library! May I help you?
You: Hello. I have a question. Are you open on Saturdays?
Me: Yes, indeed. We are open from Insanely Stupid Hour to Another Silly Hour.
You: Thank you. You were very helpful and not at all snide!
Me: You're welcome! It's so refreshing to talk to someone who knows what they want.
[Hang up.]


Ring! Ring!
Me: Your Local Library! May I help you?
You: How are you?
Me: ... uhhhh. [Thinks: Who is this? Do they know me?] Fine?

When "How are you?" is appropriate:

Ring! Ring!
Me: Your Local Library! May I help you?
You: Hello, I'm calling to ask ... Wait a minute! Is this Miss Marf?
Me: Yes, it is ...
You: This is [Insert name of child who used to come to my storytime 20 years ago and is now married with a kid]! How are you?
Me: Ohhhhhh, [name inserted while I desperately try to remember who it is]! So good to hear from you! I'm doing quite well. How are you?
You: I'm just great! I'm in law school now. I was calling to find out about your hours on Saturdays.

See the difference? In one case, it was someone who was just calling for information and was a stranger. In the other, it was someone who knew and remembered me (even if I could not immediately recall them - which happens all the time). But I get this "How are you?" gambit all the time. As much as I'd like to respond with some version of, "Excuse me, but who is this?" I realize that I am at a public service desk and while I might think correcting someone's phone etiquette constitutes a "public service," I bet my boss doesn't.

So, I'm telling you. Have a nice day!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

For Tat

I suppose it says something about the internet that I reluctantly did not include the first part of that expression.

A while ago, I heard that one of our branches did some great programs with Legos. Now, just to play effectively with Legos you need a lot of them. The branch manager had groups of kids building. It occurred to me that when we bought our Lego table and Duplo blocks (because they're too big to be swallowed and can be left out), we were accidentally sent some of the smaller blocks. We had two unopened bags of them stored for a few years, forgotten.
I sent them to the branch. My boss wasn't thrilled. What if we wanted to do a program with them? Ahhh, but if we do, how much more likely we are to get all the ones from the branch as well as those back! Won't the branch look more kindly upon us? The two bags we had weren't enough to do a program with, unless there were very few kids. Besides, it got more junk out of our storage and to a place where someone would use them. Win-win-win!
Cast your Legos (and other resources) upon the waters ...

A blogpost on how to do a program here: