Sunday, August 28, 2011

Last Saturday Storytime of August

Storytime consists of warming up the crowd with a familiar rhyme or song, reading 2 to 4 picture books, followed by a simple make and take craft.

Attendees have been younger and younger lately. The youngest look barely 15 months old, with the (mis)behavior that goes along with it. Then again, some have been taught, but the lessons haven't stuch!

I started with a rhyme that was repeated enthusiastically by those who knew it. It helps when the parents join in, but these appeared to want to be entertained rather than participate! Plus there was a SCREAMING toddler to my left - the mother took him outside TWICE. After that, I tried to ignore one of the twins, who I'd name NAUGHTY and Nice. She was pulling out every book on the shelf next to me. I ignored her lest I be tempted to bop her with one of the books.

I soldiered on! They liked Plenty Saimin (and who in noodle soup-loving Hawaii DOESN'T?), Beach Day and Whose Slippers Are These? In between, I tried to get them to sing If You're Happy and You Know It, but ended up singing alone! After the second story, I said I'd read the third, and a little girl got up, stood in front of me and said she wasn't having a third. I think I told her, "Too bad!"

When I showed them the craft they'd be doing, there was an audible gasp from both children and parents! Too funny! It IS a cute craft - a greeting card with dimensional cutout rubber slipper. I tried to convince the student helper that the cutting should be left to the parents and children, who think it's fun.

Afterwards, one of the librarians asked how it went, and even suggested I post instructions to one of the children's librarians' listservs, as there was a need for this type of craft! I'll have to write some up in order to do this!

The best part of this craft was that ALL of the components were recycled: from the colored copy paper that used to be flyers, to the paper for the invitations - leftover from another project, to the slipper "straps" - donated foam pieces. I am getting better at using odds and ends rather than "new" supplies.

But I still choose a craft first, then the stories to go with it later!

The DH surprised me by showing up! He took some photos, joined in making the slipper card, then went off to meet "the boys" to smoke cigars. I went off to lunch, where I thought I was going to eat one of my humble sandwiches...

Friday, August 26, 2011

It Was a VERY Short Day!

I'm not tall. I envy our student helper - I think she's 5' 9". Can't she just give me two inches?

How short am I? Well, I used to be 5' 1". Now I think I'm barely over 5' tall.

It was on the bus this morning when I first saw real shortness. I can't remember when he climbed on, but a fellow hopped onto a seat across the aisle from me. I'm going to say he was under 3 feet tall. Still, he climbed up without a struggle. He was black, middle-aged and his clothes fit well. Think how hard it must be for HIM to find things that fit!

The next encounter was in the library. I had the afternoon shift in the young adult section, and barely saw the younger woman in her 30s or 40s from the reference desk. I'm better at guessing volume than height or distance, so I estimated she was 70+ pounds, and approximately 3' 6". The first fellow was around 50 pounds.

After work, my bus was extra late. We were treated to olfactory punishment in the form of a homeless woman who was reading a plastic-protected sheet of paper - out loud. She smelled strongly of urine - which is prompting me to stand up now and put a fragrance sample in my handbag. She was briefly joined by a homeless man, who looked a bit better than the woman.

The third vertically challenged person looked almost 4' 6". She was loud for her height, and made faces at a baby held in a sling around its mother's neck. The woman's face was exactly at the same level as the baby's. The mother was of above-average height.

At work, I wear sandals with heels about 2-1/2 inches high - close to the upper limit of what is comfortable for me. Even with those few inches, I notice being able to see more, reach things better and I'm more sparkly.

WHAT? My sandals have some tastefully placed rhinestones along the edges of the straps. Which sparkle is still enough to catch the attention of the OFLIC. Older Female Librarians In Charge. I can well imagine them clucking or tsking their disapproval when I'm out of earshot. Not that I care!

How tall - or short - are you? Does your height define you? How?

Monday, August 22, 2011

What Makes You Read?

Truth is my answer and reason!

Does a story ring true?

I believe that we read to learn the stories of others. Whether we say we want "information" or "knowledge", if that's conveyed to us in the form of a story, so much the better.

When we sense honesty - that we're being told truths - we accept this more easily. And everyone's "truths" are different.

Yes, there are fabricators - James Frey, etc.

But there are also those who relate the stories of their lives - warts and all, with unblinking courage - so by reading, we may learn from them.

What are the truths about "history"? Are they only HIS-story? What about HER-story?

It's taken me a few years to realize "history" MUST include HER stories, as well as those of children, servants, slaves, immigrants, aliens - illegal or not. All those not in power, not in the dominant culture, all those who are disenfranchised. The angle of the lens of study must widen and include everyone who was there, not only those who can write best. Original sources! Record the oral histories. Break out the interpreters and translators!

Show me all sides and angles of the story - including from the bottom up - and I'll tell you that you've given me a real history.

Tell me what you're reading now!?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Are You Left or Right Brained?

I'd always thought the whole family leaned more toward being RIGHT-brained, or more creative.

But I recently took this test, and the results made me think differently. Or, perhaps, I actually do think differently since I went back to school to get a graduate degree.

Of course, the test is simplistic and not definitive. It definitely started me thinking about the issue. My results are 53% left, 47% right. And I agree.

For better or worse, my thinking has grown to be more logical and analytic

How about you?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

August Reading

Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi - a graphic novel that continues the author's tale of growing up in turbulent Islamic Revolution Iran, and school in Vienna. I saw the movie some years ago, and recommend it. You may gain some insight into a way of life that is so constraining, and worse for women who have to wear the hijab and be otherwise modest. Men, at least can express themselves in dress, barbering and grooming.

Big Machine by Victor LaValle is the other book. I had to return it before the DH could finish, because there were requests for it. Needless to say, it's a compelling read. It's about cults, a library, redemption and immaculate conception. Sort of. You HAVE to read it!

Next, I'm reading Death at the Crossroads by Dale Furutani, about a ronin and bandits in shogun-era Japan.

Tell me what you're reading!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What's Up with THAT? - Things that Make You Go HUH???

Why do the dang neighbors above us keep dropping things? It doesn't matter what room I'm in, one of them is directly above me, dropping what sounds like a lead pipe! It does look like they are moving out, but it's taking much too long!

If you bring your lunch in an insulated lunch box, why do you still need to put the entire large, trunk-size thing in the refrigerator? Because of this, there are times when I can barely find a spot to put my little sandwich in its Ziploc bag.

Do you remember The Rules of the Road? The basic ones, like the yellow light means you should stop at the intersection, instead of accelerating so you can beat the red light (but you don't). And that pedestrians have the right of way - if the light is green for them, you should let them cross instead of gunning your engine, hitting the gas and barely missing them!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I'm on a Mission

The teenagers who don't speak it say it sounds "ugly". I say knowing how to converse in this second or third language of Hawaii may save their lives if they are stranded in a rural community like Nanakuli.

One teenager told me he doesn't and won't go there.

So, I'm actually on TWO missions.

First: I cannot let pidgin English, aka Hawaiian Creole English die out. To that end, it must be taught or conveyed somehow, and used along with the first two languages of Hawaii - English and Hawaiian.

No, I do not speak Hawaiian. Rightly or wrongly, I see a prejudice towards non-Hawaiians like me who want to learn Hawaiian. For those of you in the larger world, yes, I am a citizen of Hawaii, but my grandparents came from elsewhere to work on the sugar plantations and settled here. "Settler" has the same ugly connotations it has elsewhere (like the Middle East) but I accept that. I am a settler.

Unlike many of my elementary school classmates, I did not go to Japanese language school. Instead, I watched my younger brother and sister after school. At the time, I was happy about that, but in retrospect, I regret it. My grandmother spoke only Japanese and broken English - pidgin English. I understood her perfectly, and she understood me. Pidgin was our common language.

Pidgin still exists in those rural areas, in local writing, and to some extent in local theater. In the decades between my public schooling, and that of my son's, some of it was even taught in schools. That has disappeared with the advent of NCLB and standards-based education. And more's the pity for it.

The celebration of May Day in elementary public schools has also disappeared for the most part. It was such a time-consuming production involving finding music and/or musicians, teaching dance, sometimes song, writing a program narration and choosing student narrators (my son did this in fifth grade!) Some programs involved music and dance from around the world, others an all-Hawaiian slate.

The disappearance of pidgin and May Day mean that we lose the "flavor" of Hawaii - what it is that makes us truly different and unique from the other 49 states.

OK, with the May Day issue, I've strayed slightly off topic.

My other mission is to see as many corners of my own island and the others as I can. For example, I've been to some parts of Wahiawa, in the mountainous middle part of the island, but not others. Our friend is now working there, which provides an excuse for a visit! Earlier last year, we had an errand in Kapolei, on the west side and also took a quick trip up the mountain to see a friend who was staying in Makakilo.

There are folks who live as much as 45 miles - one way! - from where they work. But there are others who have never left the south or east side of the island to explore the north or west.

We'll have a long weekend after the next couple of weeks, so we plan a trip up to the North Shore - for the farmers' market, for lunch and to sit by the beach.

So, join my mission: learn some words in a language other than your own, or speak or teach them.

And see the world beyond your little proscribed neighborhood and environs!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My Husband Looks Like Someone Else

His name is Brooks Takenaka, and he is a marine biologist and assistant general manager of the United Fishing Agency, the fish auction in Honolulu. 6 days a week, fishermen bring their catch to the facility at Pier 38 off Nimitz Highway in Honolulu, where buyers gather and visitors gawk. I have never been able to wake up early enough to see this - the auction starts at 5:30 am!

Here's a look at Brooks.

Nice-looking man, but he does not compare to my husband, who is a lot handsomer, and has a much nicer voice!

Why do I think he looks like Brooks? I DON'T! Still, every few months, my DH will hear someone call, "Brooks." "Brooks?" "BROOKS!" He'll look around and behind himself, but the caller is looking at HIM. This happened just a few days ago, in the supermarket when he was buying papayas. I think he told the fellow he IS better looking than Brooks. (No offense, Brooks!) This has happened at the mall, and at events we've attended, so obviously other people think he looks like Brooks!

And one of his friends was at an event and was upset when he called my husband's name and the fellow didn't answer. Maybe HE was Brooks!?

Do you have a doppelganger? Tell! Another physical version of yourself, somewhere in the world. I am discounting the idea that this is an evil twin, but that there are only so many physical variations, so that there has to be some repetition out there.

Yes, I know we all like to think of ourselves as special and unique, but just as you've figured out a new hairdo, or feel comfortable in some new clothes, someone says, "You look exactly like my cousin on Maui." This from a nurse practitioner who was taking my temperature; with the thermometer in my mouth, I was helpless to reply that I don't think I have relatives on Maui or that they would also be hers! A couple of years ago, my then-doctor said I look sooo much like her best friend on the Big Island, Hawaii. Granted, folks in the health care field see a lot more faces every day then the rest of us, but still...

Since I was a preteen, I've been told there are Others in the World Who Look Like Me. Maybe someday I'll get to meet them!