Monday, August 31, 2009

The Curious Tale of Marian the Librarian, conclusion

Part the Third:

Marian, our trusty but unemployed teacher, returned home after her sweltering interview, and drank about 11 gallons of water. She had luckily recovered from her odd day, and was thrilled to receive an early morning phone call the following day from a mysterious voice which bid her to come to one of the elementary schools to meet with the principal.

Marian was understandably excited, and as the interview wasn't for a week, she was able to research the school, learn the curriculum for 3rd and 4th grade, and generally make herself as employable as she knew how to be.

On the appointed day, Marian once more pulled on the offending pantyhose and proceeded to the school. She met with the principal and an administrator. Marian was dutifully prepared with all of her teacher answers, and the interview seemed to be progressing well. About halfway through the interview, however, the principal mentioned that one of the jobs they had available was the library/media specialist position, and asked how Marian would handle working in that capacity.

As Marian naively assumed that this was just a general inquiry, she searched her mind for what she knew of school libraries and/or media (which wasn't a lot), and gamely answered the ensuing questions. It soon dawned on her, however, that the questions were all now taking on a definite librarian flavor. It occurred to Marian that things had taken a rather confusing turn.

When asked if Marian had any questions for them, she asked about the available positions, and that she knew that there was both a 3rd and 4th grade position available. Thus, one can only imagine Marian's shock and confusion when she is told that these jobs have already been filled, but there is a library job available in the school. It now dawns on Marian that she has no idea what she's talking about, and as she is one who takes a bit of time to wrap her head around things, she is glad that the interview has come to an end.

Marian leaves the school in a fog of confusion and disbelief, and proceeds home. Even though she is not actually a librarian, she decides that it's a job that would be interesting and that she could do well. In fact, Marian knows that she has always had librarian tendencies (such as wardrobe, haircut, etc.), so perhaps this job is her destiny. Marian, is sad, therefore, when there is no phone call day after day.

Finally, to Marian's happy surprise, she receives a call to meet with a further administrator for another interview. While Marian is excited about the opportunity, the thought of having to answer more questions is appalling somewhat unpalatable. Imagine Marian's pleasure, therefore, when she meets with said administrator (again wearing the ridiculous and horrible pantyhose) and is offered the position of leave replacement for the library/media specialist.

The job starts in October, allowing Marian to attend her lovely children's first day of school, while simultaneously giving her time to learn how to be a school librarian. It's short-term, but is a foot in the door and steady work.

Marian rejoiced, the family celebrated with Italian food, and everyone lived happily ever after.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Curious Tale of Marian the Librarian, continued

Part the Second:

We rejoin our heroine, Marian, on the day of her job interview. Unfortunately, the interview date coincided with the hottest day of the summer, and Marian was forced to wear pantyhose on a day that was so hot her hair was sweating. Marian, dressed in her grown-up interview clothes proceeded to the interview, where she was met with a large sign proclaiming "Job Fair - Library."

This gave Marian pause. Job fair? Hmmm...She gamely proceeded to the library, where she was ushered into a room containing about 10 other poor souls also wearing clothes completely inappropriate for the tropical heat of the day. Marian hoped that they were here for other positions, but in her heart of hearts, she knew this was not true. She broke the painful silence and asked if they were all elementary teachers, and as she expected, the answers were glumly, "Yes."

The interviews were conducted on a simultaneous basis; desks were set up throughout the library, and 5 people were interviewed at once. It was something akin to speed dating, but Marian wisely chose not to make this particularly inappropriate observation to the principal interviewing her. After about 20 minutes, she was told to return to the holding pen, where she was met with about 10 new people who hadn't been there before, but also wearing equally uncomfortable clothes and expressions.

Marian, being something of a talker, broke the silence and again asked if they were all here for the elementary jobs. They were. One teacher, who was also clearly rather a talker, asked about what the procedure seemed to be, and Marian relayed what had happened to her so far today. The other teacher remarked that it seemed akin to American Idol, and Marian replied that they would probably have to run the Gauntlet of Fire at the end of the day. Only the other woman laughed, and Marian was saddened that the warm day and obvious stress had caused her colleagues to lose their senses of humor. Gauntlet of Fire, people - that's funny!

Marian was then called to meet with 2 more administrators, where she once again did her interview thing, and tried not to faint from the heat. At the end she was blessedly told she could leave, and she said her good-byes appropriately.

Little did Marian know that she would, actually, be running the Gauntlet of Fire, and that it would consist of her walk through the 9,000 degree parking lot while wearing pantyhose on a day when even the foliage was sweating.

What will happen to Marian next? Stay tuned for the final chapter in her saga....

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Curious Tale of Marian the Librarian

Part the First:

Once upon a time there was a teacher, who we will call Marian. Marian taught elementary school for several years; she loved her job and her students, but her husband got a job requiring them to move away. Marian subsequently produced two lovely children, and stayed home to give them motherly affection (and snacks).

The years passed, and the lovely young children started school. Marian wanted to go back to teaching, with the hope of edifying both her mind and her bank account. Unfortunately, Marian made this choice the same year that the financial markets around the world decided to no longer function properly. This untimely event caused two things to happen - schools began laying off teachers in horrifying numbers, and teachers didn't retire because their prospects of retiring on the two dollars left in their retirement accounts were less than pleasant.

This made job hunting quite difficult for Marian. She arranged for good references and sent out many (MANY) resumes, but to no avail. She had one interview at the beginning of the summer, but they somehow managed to disregard her obvious charms and hired someone else.

Poor Marian! Labor Day was now looming, and she knew that if her fortunes didn't change quickly, she would be without hope. Then, she spied a posting for 2 leave replacement jobs for 3rd and 4th grade. They weren't for very long, but would get Marian a foot in the door in the district, and some steady work and money. Marian applied for these jobs and was granted an interview. Marian, in her excitement and innocence, had no idea what awaited her.....

To be continued....

Friday, August 28, 2009

Oh, And I Have a Coupon...

I love a bargain. I try to be careful with what I buy for many reasons - one of them is that we live in a 2 bedroom apartment with 2 kids, and anything that is purchased has to have somewhere to go. (The aftermath of Christmas, after the kids' presents get hauled up our 4 flights of stairs can be excruciating...) Another is that we are trying to be more aware of what and why we buy, and be less materialistic (it's going slowly...). The final reason is that we don't have lots of extra cash hanging about, so if we want to eat and pay the mortgage and all that other wild and crazy stuff, we have to watch our pennies a bit.

This brings me to my trip to Michaels last week. Miss Serious had a gift card, so we stopped by and browsed a bit. They're revamping some of their sections, and had big piles of clearance things, and as I do so love a clearance we dug through and I found a couple of stamp sets. They were a good price, and I thought I would get use out of them, but being me I hehmed and hahwed a bit before I decided to finally get them both. I also picked up a little tree stamp from the $1.49 section.

We toddled up to the cashier, and she started ringing up my purchases. This was the ensuing receipt:
Even though it's gloriously blurry (I have yet to figure out how to take a decent close-up with this camera), hopefully it can be seen that my final cost for these items (with tax, mind you) was 98 cents. That's right - each of the stamp sets rang up at a penny a piece. Now, as I am a person who is quick to make sure I mention it when I am overcharged, I also try to do the same when I'm undercharged. I figure fair's fair, after all. The cashier said that some of the clearance items are out of the system, so they just ring up this way and they've been told to leave it. And then, of course, I presented my 40% off coupon for the remaining $1.49 stamp.

For some reason, everything is more fun to use when it only costs a penny!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I Think I Need More Friends...

Not because I'm lonely or bored, but because I've been making cards and they are now languishing in their little box. Birthdays are over for a while, and no holidays for a bit. Maybe I should send out Labor Day cards this year....

Summer is really flying by - the kids will be starting school next week! As we have never started school before Labor Day, and as every other district in the area starts after Labor Day, my (I thought) reasonable assumption was that our school would start after Labor Day. Not so.

The kids got their letters last week telling them who their teachers were, and giving class lists and so on. I got distracted by all of this information, and finally realized that the start date was Sept 2nd. They go back before The Professor this year, a fact which I think he is quietly enjoying (and I don't seem to be be going back at all, as the job hunt has not been kind. I know it ain't over 'till the fat lady sings, but I seem to be hearing some warm-up scales in the background....).

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

These Little Piggies Went to Cape Cod!

The perfect accessory for a 96 degree day - a hand-knit, wool sock. This is from some of the lovely sock yarn I got while vacationing on Cape Cod, and Big Trouble is so pleased with the result that he was willing to pull it onto his hot, sweaty foot to model for me. Now to finish the other one, and he can wear them to the beach!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Well, It's Cooler Now

Yup - that's what was hovering outside our window yesterday afternoon. It has been rather warm the last week, and I guess the weather finally gave up. This began forming, and it was so dense that you could see it moving past. Quite spectacular, and the ensuing rain did cool things down, for which we are all grateful.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Throes of August

Well, summer has really hit with a vengeance these last couple of days, and Chez Necessity is rather warm. When I say rather warm, what I really mean is really freakin' hot. Our fans have been running full blast, but they can only do so much. Luckily, tomorrow is supposed to be a much cooler 89 degrees, and, because life is relative, I'm really looking forward to it.

I put a couple of cards together, but probably should have done Christmas cards to try to fool myself into being cool.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Life's A Beach

We have a really pretty, local beach about a 20 minute walk (unfortunately the way home always takes at least 30 minutes, and is replete with whining, but that's neither here nor there) from our house. It has a lovely playground, pretty walking paths, a sandy beach, a spray ground, and the harbor. Now, I don't let my kids actually swim in the harbor. When we first started taking the kids there, there was some sort of problem with the water quality, and every other day it would be off-limits for swimming. Being a harbor, it's kind of the depository of all the filth the ocean decides it really doesn't care for. I decided that if it's not safe for swimming on Tuesday, I certainly won't be dipping my toes in the water on Wednesday, no matter how many signs tell me it's ok; they have a really great little spray ground there, with water piped in from the drinking water line, and my kids have a blast in there. I don't think they realized that you could go in the water until we met some friends there one day whose kids jumped right in. The shocked looks of recrimination my children sent me were a sight to behold, but they're still not allowed in the water.

Yesterday we went to the beach, and I made the unfortunate tactical error of setting up next to the sexy moms. I don't like sitting by the sexy moms. I wasn't sexy even before I had children, and it is beyond me how these women are able to maintain the sexiness. There were 3 of them, all sporting diamond rings large enough to blind you when the sun hits them, and all 3 were wearing string bikinis with not an ounce of fat on them.

Now, we live in the land of the nip and tuck, and not being a nip and tuck gal myself, I'm never sure how to tell if one has been nipped and or tucked, but I've become pretty good at spotting breast work (is this a marketable skill???). Having birthed and nursed 2 children myself, I know from painful experience that one's chest, when left in it's natural state, will never be what it once was after such abuse. Now, while these women were not sporting BOUS's (for those Princess Bride fans, that's Breasts of Unusual Size) I did conclude that they must have all visited their friendly plastic surgeon for a little help.

I don't begrudge anyone this sort of thing, and if it makes you happy and you can afford it, more power to you. And I know that these women must spend countless hours working out to be able to wear such tiny bathing suits (I could probably have outfitted all 3 of them with the amount of material in my own suit), which I think is laudable.

But I definitely won't be sitting next to them again, if I can help it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

So Pretty!

On our first day in Cape Cod, The Professor spied a yarn shop we hadn't seen before (I actually noticed it because the two heavy-duty motorcyclists in front of us turned in as well. (They didn't stay long.) It was called The Black Purls Yarn Shop, and was off of 6A in EastSandwich, if you're in the neighborhood. (The official address is 685 Route 6A).

They had only opened a short while ago, and the shop was beautifully laid out with simple, black shelves for the yarn. It really set off the colors, and allowed you to browse through the yarn without being distracted. There was a nice mix of basic and more high-end yarns, and I even won a door prize!

Here's what I left with - from left to right: Cascade Pure Alpaca (absolutely lovely and soft - and part of my prize!), Debbie Bliss Pure Cotton (equally lovely, and the rest of my prize!), Cascade Heritage Handpainted Sock Yarn (I'm always a sucker for handpainted yarn), and Cascade Sassy Stripes (the kids both picked out the same yarn for socks).

I've never won yarn before, and let me tell you, it just makes it that much more lovely!

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I had some cards to mail out this week, so I got myself together, dug out my supplies, and made some things. I bought some new markers, and have been revisiting my inner kindergartner by coloring. Very soothing, and still fun as an adult.

I wonder if I can list good coloring skills on my resume......?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Trying Hard Not to Lose That Vacation Weight

Yesterday I decided that as I didn't consume nearly enough calories through mountains of ice cream and fried seafood on Cape Cod that I should produce some rich, high calorie food at home. I dug out my food processor and pasta maker, and the kids and I made a lovely pile of homemade fettucine noodles.

Many years ago, being younger and more foolish, I first attempted homemade pasta. I watched a chef make it on tv, and the dough looked beautifully simple to prepare - just put the flour on the counter, make a well in the middle, pour in the eggs, and beat gently with a fork, incorporating the flour. Easy peasy.

Until about 2 seconds after I put the eggs in the well, and they broke through the walls of the flour creating a charming mess all over the counter, floor, and me.

Enter the food processor - dump everything in, mix it up, and voila! Pasta dough ready to go with no need to scrape a pile of slippery goo off your kitchen.

I made Fettucine Alfredo with it, and it was yummy (even though Big Trouble decided he didn't care for it - I will never understand what makes them like or dislike something - pasta, cheese, cream, and butter - what's not to like?), and it made a tasty lunch the next day, too.

* My original reason for choosing this dish was that I had bought heavy cream a while back for a recipe I didn't end up making, and thought this would be a good way to use it. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that I had bought it quite a loooong way back, and it had congealed into something rather unpleasant. However, necessity being the mother of invention I discovered that you can make a great Alfredo sauce with half and half - I just reduced it for a bit until it was thicker like cream, and added butter and cheese until the consistency looked right. I know - not really the most efficient way to drop those vacation pounds, but life is short!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Vacation is Hard!

Last week we spent a lovely vacation in beautiful Cape Cod. We've gone to the same place for several years now; every year we ask each other if we'd like to go someplace else, and every year, we decide to go back. I can't imagine why - beautiful beaches, hiking trails, fabulous wildlife, great weather with cool nights, delicious seafood, and for some reason, the kids' favorite - the place we stay has free munchkins in the morning.

That seems to be the thing they mention as the highlight of their trip, making me seriously consider saving the long drive to Massachusetts and just hitting the Dunkin' Donuts down the street. (They are building one across the street from us - donuts within easy walking distance doesn't bode well for my thighs - maybe if I jogged there....)

We had great weather this time - we often have one day of pouring rain, but this year we only had a couple of sprinkles on one afternoon. We hit the beach, went on a nature hike at the Audubon, went to the Wood's Hole Aquarium and Oceanographic Institute, did a very odd scavenger hunt at the Edward Gorey house, took a boat ride, and ate more ice cream and fried seafood than anyone should put away in one week. (Oddly, and on a totally unrelated note, I seem to have gained four pounds - must have been the salt air.)

Now we're home and recovering. It always seems like a great idea to cram all this stuff into one week, but by the end, I'm pooped and ready to go home. It's always a treat to take a break from my real life, and an even bigger treat to realize how much I miss it and how glad I am to get back to business as usual, such as it is.