Sunday, August 28, 2011

I bet you didn't think I could cook, huh? Well, you're right...

Friday night, while other shoppers were raking toilet paper, gallons of milk, water, and oddly enough microwave popcorn into their shopping carts, I was wandering around with a very specific grocery list. Instead of Hurricane Irene freakout supplies I was loading up on strange cheeses I had never heard of and the makings of cornmeal pizza dough. Since most of my meals come from a box or can (or bottle, *gratuitous wink*), recently I've renewed my interest in cooking and I thought while I was home bound during the storm, I would recreate a recipe I found in a discarded cookbook earlier at work.

Now I can bake, or at least I used to do ok with baking. My track record over the last year has been spotty: made incredible batch of mini cupcakes for me and my family, try to make same cupcakes again for work event and accidentally put in 1/2 cup of baking soda instead of 1/2 teaspoon; great peanut butter cookies at home on a cold winter night, try to make same cookies to bring for Christmas and I accidentally put in 3 eggs and 1 cup of milk instead of 1 egg and 3 cups of milk. For every good thing I made, some cosmic intervention would make sure I followed it with something inedible. Self-diagnosed with recipe dyslexia, understandably, this put me off of cooking for awhile.

Because Irene made me cancel my original Saturday plans (thanks a lot, weather people, our area maybe needed a good umbrella, not sandbags) last night I decided to go forward with my plan to make the mini Fontina Cheese Pizzas, of course I had to ask the person at the deli counter what fontina cheese was and where I could find it. Here are the results, obviously the left is a fancy show off photograph from the cookbook.
Their mini pizzas look tasty and appetizing. My pizzas look like something you would ask the waiter to send back to the kitchen.

The problem? Not 100% certain, but most likely the fact that the recipe called for 3 egg yokes and I put in 3 whole eggs had something to do with it. Rather than tasting like a pizza, they tasted like cheesy scrambled eggs on top of dough, kinda like a quiche but without the pastry crust. The dough didn't come out right either, my oven runs a bit hot so the bottoms were burned while the top outer crust was barely bronzed and it tasted like a saltine to me for some reason. So my hurricane shut-in dinner was crackers with scrabbled eggs on top!

After last night's kitchen disaster, I was pleasantly surprised by my success at a different recipe this morning. Not in the same ballpark as baking, but it was so quick and easy and delicious -- my favorite combination. Link-hoping, I randomly came across a recipe on A Tale of Two Kitchens for Peach Almond Smoothie and since I coincidentally already had all of those ingredients at home, I gave it a try. Maybe since I'm trying to kick my coffee habit, I can start the day off with a smoothie instead. Of course, I'm not going to stop my 3pm candy fix.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Libraries, we do more than shelter the homeless...

If yesterday's dumb question was, "Is the library still open because of the earthquake?" today's would be anything related to required reading for school.

Bitchy Mom: How can the library not have any copies of Lord of the Flies? You're the library, that's what my tax money is for.

Irrationally Annoyed Teen: What am I supposed to do now? I was supposed to read The Miracle Worker by next you have the movie? Why not?!

Slouchy Teen Boy: Could you write a note to my teacher that you didn't have any books but I'm on the waitlist for Their Eyes Were Watching God?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Verbal communication between two or more humans/monkeys

The phone rings, I picke up to what appears to be a conversation already in progress.

Me: Hello?
Completely Stoned Woman: Uh, hi.
Me: How can I help you?
CSW:...I want to order a book on CD.
Me: Ok, what is the title? (she gives me the title and I locate it in the catalog) It's at a different branch, but I can have it sent here. Could I get your library card number?
Me: Um, hello? Ma'am?
CSW: Huh?
Me: Could I please get your library card number?
CSW: Oh, that...I don't know where that is right now.
Me: Well, I'm kinda going to need it to put it on hold for you.
CSW: Oh no, I don't know...(there is a sound of rustling, things being scattered and knocked over)'s here somewhere, I'll find it later...before I come to the library. Can't you just look me up by my name?
*It is our library's policy not to look up borrowers account information without a card number, however there are exceptions and since I already had another person on hold I wanted to be done with this transaction. I let her give me her name and then quizzed her on her address and birthday.*
Me: Alright, I put a request in and you should get a call in a day or so when it comes in.
CSW: How?
Me:...By phone? The library will call you when it's ready to pick up.
CSW: How do you know my phone number?
Me: We have it in the computer, it's part of your account information.'s probably my old number, I have a new cell phone let me give you another number...(I start typing in the phone number she's rattling off when I realize it's way too long to be a phone number).
Me: Um, ma'am? That phone number, is it local or long distance?
CSW:...That's not my phone number!
Me: What is it then?
CSW: It's the library card number, you said you wanted it.
Me: (She had a point, but a little too late) That number doesn't sound like one of our library card numbers. All of them start off with the same six digits. What library is that a card for?
CSW:...It's a library card.
Me: What does it look like?'s blue (She reads off the library card and it is for a different county).
Me: Ok, that's not part of this library system for 'X County.' If you can't find your library card by the time we call you, just bring in your ID and we can get you a new one.
CSW:...A new what?
Me: A new library card? To replace the one you can't find.
CSW:...And the library is going to call me?
Me: Yes.
CSW: But why?
Me:???To inform you that the audiobook you put on hold has come in...?!
CSW: Oh, ok then. Goodbye!

And she hangs up

It makes me feel a little better when I'm at McDonald's and I realize that I'm not the only person that has to deal with the bizarre public. On the mornings I swing by to grab coffee, there's always this crazy lady with messy hair talking to herself. She never orders anything, but sits at a booth with a Stouffer's frozen turkey and mashed potatoes dinner -- it's always the same thing, and obviously not frozen anymore. She used to come by the library, but hasn't been in for a long while. When she shouts something nonsensical in my direction as I'm scooping up creamers and Splenda, I feel relieved that I'm returning to the general sanity of the library.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Life and its obligations have kept me away (not to mention my laptop is rejecting Firefox lately and explorer does not want to play nice with gmail and blogger), but I've managed to scribble down things here and there on post-its or scrap paper that I can cobble into a post later.

Today I had no such need to dig through my notes as the library gods hand-delivered some weirdness into my inbox this morning:

A couple days ago I came to work to find an address book on our main desk. At night, after we close and the janitorial staff cleans up, they will place any items they find on the desk so that in the morning we can figure out what to do with it (usually it goes in the lost and found bin or the trash). This address book was slightly beat up, the outer snap closure was missing and it was being held together by a large rubber band. There was nothing inside that had the owner’s contact information, however there were two bills folded in the front that were addressed to the same person. Assuming this to be the owner of the address book, I looked them up in our system to see if they had a card. They had a card, but no phone number listed, just home address and email. So I sent an email:

To: Patron

Hello Patron X,
An address book that may belong to you was found at the library. If it is yours, please go to the front desk, describe it for them and they will retrieve it for you from lost and found.

Your Librarian.

A few hours later I got an email back:

Dear Librarian:
Thank you so much for finding my address book!!! I have been looking for it everywhere and thought it was gone! I will come by later and pick it up.

Patron X

I considered this to be the end of the transaction. I emptied my inbox of our correspondence, assumed they picked up their address book, and promptly forgot about the whole thing. Until today.

I was befuddled. Who?

The email address seemed strangely familiar. Could it be one of the volunteers I manage? I cut and pasted the email address into the search box function and clicked on the little spyglass.

Two emails were found, both in my trash folder – the exchange between me and the address book patron.

The hell?
Not only did I not know Patron X personally, I had never even met them, and had not been around whenever they came to get the address book. I would have no way of picking Patron X out of a police lineup.

Like the former junior high school bully sending me a friend request on Facebook, this involved the same level of confusion, but with a side order of creepy.