Your Local Automated Library

Being Library Lovers’ Month, I thought it only proper that the kids and I should head to our local library. Seriously, to go a whole month without a library visit is unheard of for us, but moving and sickness set us back. When we walked in, our new library felt all wrong to me. For one thing, it had one of those really high ceilings with lots of columns and windows in the roof with an office section in the center like a super column. Maybe the architect was going for openness. It was certainly impressive, but I felt like an ant. There were two librarians on opposite ends of the circulation desk. There I was, at the front of that massive desk, wondering which one to walk over to.

We toured the building to get acquainted with the layout. One of my kids commented on how loud it was. I’m not sure why it was loud—no one was talking. It didn’t have that cozy, considerate “Shhh! People are reading in here!” quality.

The kids wanted to know if they could check out books on Pokemon, graphic novel biographies, Lenape Native Americans, President Taft, horses, and princesses. So, we went to what I assumed was the online catalog, which was actually one of many kiosks where you scan your library card to check out books. Did I feel embarrassed when I figured this out? No because, at that point, I’d been to three different computer stations and none of them gave me the option of the library catalog. I was annoyed. I finally gave up and walked over to a corner of the deserted-looking circulation desk again to ask where the catalog was. Fortunately, they did have one. (I was beginning to wonder if I needed to use my phone to look it up.)

The whole library was impersonal. That’s what it was: impersonal. A library is a symbol of community. It’s the access point for local information on programs and services. It should exude a feeling of connectedness, friendliness, humanness. It’s so easy to log in to the online library and, with a few clicks, check out that electronic book for a couple of weeks. Easy, but impersonal.

I’m used to going to community-focused libraries with friendly librarians who greet me and my kids by name when we walk through the door. I’ve grown accustomed to checking the little exhibit shelves, advertising local talent of all sorts. If the alarm goes off in one of these community libraries, no one thinks anything of it. The patron just goes back and has the books scanned again—because, obviously, one didn’t scan properly. When the alarm went off in this building, everyone’s eyes went to the man walking out. I wanted to tell him, “Run! Flee with your books before they decide to do a pat down!”

Goodbye, community library! Goodbye, librarian who likes to wear the bright sweaters and waxes his mustache into curly cues! I’ll miss you. I’ll miss how you used to grin using one side of your mouth so that your mustache looked uneven. I’ll miss how you always slipped a bookmark into my latest selection and how you knew everything there was to know about hummingbird-watching—which I had no interest in at all until you showed me pictures of your returning hummingbirds. I’ll miss you because the library is now automated.

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Words With Two Letters

Since getting my smart phone, I’ve been playing lots of Words With Friends. I don’t play my friends because I’m embarrassed at how terrible I am at the game. I’ve played, oh, about 30-50 games against Realm. I’ve won one game. One.

Words With Friends via flickr:
Words With Friends via flickr.

The resulting ego plunge has left me less than confident in my vocabulary skills. (Disclaimer: Though I recognize a ton of words and know their meanings, I cannot pronounce them properly to save my life. I’d blame this on society, but provides an icon to listen to any word you look up…which I forget to use.) I mean, how can a writer who knows the correct spelling of omphaloskepsis go wrong? I think the answer lies in the amassing of little-known two and three-letter words, such as “qi” and “xu” and “qat.” My mom, whom I have yet to beat, uses the ingenious method of placing random letters together until she comes up with something like “vang” for an astronomical amount of points. Then she messages me, “I didn’t know that was a word!” Yeah, play innocent, Mom.

Realm knows I’m playing for serious. I want to beat him so badly. So, he’ll tease me while I’m making dinner.

“I played. Just to warn you, this one’s brutal.”

I let the green beans burn to check my board. Yep, he played “brutal.”

I’m desperate to master the skill of winning WWF. As hard as I try, I can’t seem to place my tiles on the right squares and find that perfect two-letter combination. And I don’t want to think about the time I waste on this ridiculous game, shuffling tiles and dragging and dropping nonsense combinations on squares. The blip of the “not an acceptable word” replays over and over in my ears as I try to come up with something remotely close to 10 points, a feat that draws me nowhere near Realm’s 60+ point lead. I think I’d fare better staring at my bellybutton in mystical contemplation of the cosmos. (In case you’re wondering, I pronounce it “cause-moss” now. Thank you, Joe Kurtenbach, for clearing that up in your post last week.)

One good thing could come of this. If I learn enough of these two-letter babies, they could replace the longer ones in my manuscript, reducing the word count considerably! I’ll be one with qi then.

Rilla Saves Space

I think I should wear a cape while finding places to put things in our new house. It takes super powers to organize all this stuff! Granted, I’m no neat freak. On a scale of one to five—five being “slob”—I think I’m about a 4½. I’m okay with that. Not that I want to document my mess for anyone who happens to click on my blog post…

We have smaller closets, so I’m attempting to maximize closet space. I was very spoiled in our last house because I had a closet to myself. (You might remember, I liked to hide out in there to write.) Now that I’m sharing a closet with Realm, I refuse to give up having my dresser in my closet. Keeping my clothes in one location truly saves time. Unfortunately, there was no place to put my shoes.

Until… (Ta da! Ta da!)

I try to be sensible about my shoes…except for the ones with the mismatched shoelaces. Those were free.

I found this little shoe rack at Walmart. (Dear Walmart, You can always send me $15 for this plug. Your cheerful little consumer, Rilla Zerbert.)

In the bathroom I wanted to set out towels and toiletries for guests.

20140129bI bought the little white shadow box bathroom scene for 99 cents at the thrift store, along with the little pink tray holding the hand towels and wash cloths for $1.59.

20140129aI found the two-section shelf at another thrift store for $5.

Notice the magazines in the bottom section. You can tell from the lifted toilet seat that a male uses this bathroom. A couple of years ago, I learned a fascinating tip from Sheila Butt, a Christian mom of three Christian men and currently a TN State Representative. Here it is:

If you want your son to read something, put it in the bathroom.

Wisdom from a pro. That’s the reason for the stack of Discovery magazines from Apologetics Press in our bathroom. If you don’t think it works, try it. I cannot count the times my son has told me an interesting scientific fact and stated, “I read it in Discovery.”

Now to the guest bedroom closet, where I store items for welcome baskets to give to new members of our congregation. There are ladies who help me by donating gifts, so I needed a place for all these goodies. This is what I came up with:

100_1251I found the blue and green containers at the dollar store. I already had the shoe rack, which was too bulky to work in my closet. There is space behind the shoe rack to keep the rolls of cellophane for the baskets. I omitted a row to get to the rolls easily. I’m so motivated to see these containers empty!!

All this space-saving means I can sit down amidst my usual piles of stuff and write without the frustration of a dozen waiting boxes staring me down. Waiting boxes do stare. I saw one out of the corner of my eye while writing a poignant death scene the other day. And it shut its eyes in a flash when I looked up to catch it.

Next, I’m thinking craft center and a board game center. (Board games don’t get played if you can’t see them.) I just need to get a round tuit. 🙂

Ear Infection Central Here

This week didn’t go smoothly. Each of my kids is sick and has an ear infection, so I’ve been Rilla the Mom-on-Call for wacky hours. I’m doctoring, cuddling, lack of appetite trouble-shooting, and germ control-managing 24/7. Rilla the Blogger will, hopefully, be back next week. Keep us in your prayers.

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