Day 30: Arf, arf, woof, woof, guau, guau #SOLSC #SOL2021

After yesterday’s hacked slice by Clyde, I have at home a very sad blind dachshund. Not even one person visited his post, zero comments or likes. Not even Steven, so nobody is even (probably understandable since Clyde left a mix review of him). Still, I thought that this is not fair.

For this reason the title of this slice is just Clyde whining, barking and crying in all the languages he knows. What upsets him the most is that Buck received raving comments on his slices.

Clyde is thinking, thinking, like Winnie the Pooh. He might hire somebody that can alter the algorithms of my blog. He thinks Poncho could be a great choice.

Poncho can charm y’all to go back one day and read slice #29.

Day 29: About time #SOL2021 #SOLSC

Today, I am hacking Pia’s computer. She hasn’t invite me to be a guest blogger but I think it’s about time that I write. She has been participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge since 2019, and she has NEVER written about me or given me the chance to show my storytelling skills in this platform. However, she has given Buck the opportunity, TWICE. There are only three days left of this year challenge. I have to say it again, it’s about time.

Let me introduce myself. I am Clyde. On April 2nd I will be turning 15 years old. I am originally from Oregon, but when I was 3 years old we moved to Spain, where I spent ten years. I got accustom to the leisurely pace of the Sevilla countryside, sunbathe almost 9 months per year, and take plenty of naps. Two years ago, my life changed again and I had to get adjusted back. Kind of a return home culture shock. I have to confess though, that I really do like the heating system here. Much better than in Spain where we were relegated to the kitchen which was very windy in the winter, since it didn’t have any insulation. I am not the young stud anymore. Or Queen, since Spaniards always thought that I was a girl, due to my petite size compared to my two buddies. I am a genuine miniature, they weren’t.

I used to be more athletic but lately my bones hurt a lot, and sounds more appealing to sleep the entire day than go outside. Don’t take me wrong. I would love to be able to go outside, but when Pia and Steve are not at home, I can’t. I am scared of the front stairs that are after passing the doggie door. It took me a while to get accustom to feel that heavy plastic rubbing on my neck, every time I cross it. I can only imagine the size of that door. Probably for mastodons.

Anyway, the stairs in question don’t meet the ADA requirements. If Steve weren’t such a good person, I would report him. I know I am not the only one that struggle with the stairs. Buck told me that Pia, when she leaves the house to go to work at 6 am, she goes very slow down the steps, not only because it’s really dark outside (unless it’s full moon) but because those stairs are steep. She is afraid that when she grows older, she will fall and break a hip, and probably Steve will get rid of her.

I am not saying this lightly. For last Steve’s birthday, we went for a 3 miles hike in the Cascades Mountains. It was a lot of uphill, and I did maybe half of it walking and the other half in a little bag they bought especially for me. The thing is that after all that effort, especially the one going up, and stumbles on rocks, and unexpected bushes, I got a kink in my neck. It was very painful. Every time Steve picked me up, I started crying in despair. I couldn’t help it. Buck and Poncho were not of any help either since every time I complained, they started to make a racket like if I were in real danger. Steve thought that my last days were coming, and when his children called for Pia’s birthday four days after his birthday, he told them that probably they were going to put me to sleep. I thank the Virgin Mary and all the angels that Pia was born that day since she set her foot very firm down, looked at Steve in the eyes and exclaimed: No! I refused to put Clyde to sleep on my birthday!

Not everything is about you, Pia. Clyde is suffering. When I heard that, I realized that if I didn’t change my attitude, my destiny was doomed. So I decided to put my best puppy face, wag my tail happily, and emit some barks of joy. It did work. I was healed.

Pia said that I am like Lazarus. When I was 6 months old, a rattle snake bit me. I laid in bed for three days, without eating and only drinking water by a spoon. At the third day, I got up, and walked. With a limp in my rear end left leg that I still have, but walked. It was a miracle. After that, I acknowledge, I started to behave like a prima donna, a very optimistic prima donna, always happy, always wagging my tale, but always with thirst of attention. I have the middle child complex, I guess. Always seeking attention.

Today though, I am more like Bartimaeus from Jericho, since I can’t see a thing, and I can barely hear. For this reason, every time they put me outside, I bark my way in. It’s my system to scare all the rattle snakes in the summer, and the coyotes on the cold winter nights.

My smell and taste senses haven’t disappeared yet, and probably won’t disappear until I die. Food is my passion these days. I have to be very careful though. Buck, even though is respectful of my food and space, sometimes get carried away when I lose track of a morsel thrown while Steve cook. My strategy? Stay at Steve’s feet waiting for a mishap, or just compassion of my human buddy. After supper, he always picks me up, and put me between his legs while stretched in the sofa watching a Netflix series. He covers me with a warm poncho bought in La Ligua, falling asleep in unison. I really love Steve. Despite his extreme attitude towards my aging and the approximation of my end. I know he does it because he loves me, and he can’t stand seeing me suffering. As far as I know, I still have some time left. My renaissance was from prima donna to survivor. About time.

Day 28: Less is more, really? Well, sometimes

Less talk, more action
Less sugar, more sweetness
Less homework, more painting

Less barking, more listening

Less multitasking, more things done
Less toxic, more healing

Less macho attitude, more women safe
Less gun controls, more shootings

Less worksheets to fill, more free reading in class

Less glue, more nails
Less couching, more biking
Less biking, more depression
Less Spanish, more cries
Less poetry, more gray in the skies

Less libraries, more books on your lonely shelves
Less librarians, more fake news
Less driving, more hiking
Less drinking, more thinking
Less pot, more thoughts

Less plastic, more oceans 🌊

Less travel, more reading

Less salt, more GringoCool extra virgin olive oil 😜

Less dogs, more cats
Less cats, more mice
Less construction, more nature
Less wind, more warmth

Less coffee, more taste. Really? Not, really.

Day 8: International Women’s Day #SOL2021 #SOLSC

My International Women’s Day hasn’t been very exciting if I compared it with my posts of 2020 and 2019. Actually, it was very dull until I listened (while processing books) to a webinar about amplifying the voices of Native Americans. The speaker, Savannah Romero, member of the Eastern Shoshone Nation, walked us through the false narratives, the invisibility and the erasure of native peoples. She is the manager of partnership and programs at an organization called IllumiNatives that has the mission of increasing the visibility of, and challenge the negative narrative about Native Nations and peoples in American society.

While doing my weeding, I was impressed about the lack of literature that portraits Native Nations and peoples in a positive and real way, and how hard is to find own voices in the mainstream. Usually the literature are either romanticized non-native visions of indigenous people, with inaccurate information, and somewhat naive or racist, or portrayals of Indigenous people as part of historical fiction but not contemporary figures and influencers. These include two Newbery Awards, The island of the blue dolphins by Scott O’Dell, that my son had to endure in 5th grade, and Julie of the wolves by Jean Craighead George, both not recommended by Dr. Debbie Reese of Nambé Pueblo in her American Indians in Children’s Literature (AICL) website. Another book that she doesn’t recommend and we have several copies of is Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen. I remember it was very well received when it was published in 2001. It was a 2007-2008 Oregon Battle of the Boks title.

The part that struck me the most of Romero’s presentation was that a significant percentage of Americans thinks that Native Americans are part of the past and don’t exist anymore. They don’t know about their Nations, their laws or history, and the only thing that they relate to “Indians” is mascots of football teams or costumes for Halloween.

The other thing that got my attention, was the fact that the percentage of indigenous women that are battered and sexually assaulted is higher than in any other race/ethnic group and nobody knows about it.

I always thought that invisibility was the worst punishment that somebody can give me. Ignoring my existence is saying that I don’t matter at all, my existence is not good or bad, is nothing. As Romero pointed out “invisibility, [the nothingness of the other] is the modern form of bias against Native Americans.”

I was so happy to come across this webinar and IllumiNatives. They have a Guide for Allies and a Guide for Native Peoples. I encourage you to explore their website. They provide a wealth of resources, lesson plans, reports and other wonderful information.

After all, my International Women’s Day was a day of discovery and learning.

Day 5: There is a zombie in the library #SOL2021 #SOLSC

Today I saw a zombie in the library. Distressed, she was walking all over the place, moaning while grabbing her head with the two palms of her hands. I say she, because it looked like a woman but masks can be deceiving. Yes, she was wearing a mask which was odd. I never thought that a zombie could comply with Covid regulations. She was slim, with a long, braided hair. Her voice was low and masculine though.

She wandered the entire 8 hours I was in the library. When students approached her, she walked by ignoring them, or at least not paying too much attention to them. I have to apologized on her behalf.

It seems that other adults didn’t see her. Oddly, once in a while someone on the staff checked on me and asked me if I was ok. Apparently I looked like I have seen a ghost or some of the students went to the office to complain about our visitor.

Afraid that she was going to scare students, I put her to work. She processed all the remaining books I have left to be labeled and protected them with book tape. She ordered all the Newbery award books by year, and we even listened together to some of the presentations of the Northern Texas Teen Book Festival.

While I was on the phone and answering emails, I saw her walking again in her zombie ghostly style. Just watching her made me sick.

When was time to leave (for the first time I was leaving on time), I went to the bathroom before heading outside. While washing my hands for 20 seconds, out of boredom, I looked at myself in the mirror, something I don’t do very often. Little I knew, it was a zombie staring at me. Quickly, I grabbed my phone and snapped a photo of her.

Day 3. Honoring Women in the Family #SOL2021 #SOLSC

Last week I started a Latinx Club at the library. We meet every Wednesday. Today we made tie-dye masks and played soccer.

I like to start the sessions always reading something (even when they look at me weirdly while I am holding a picture book). Today I read the book Be You! by Peter H. Reynolds. We did our check-in and introductions by telling to each other the way we felt at that moment if we were an animal. We were sloths, dogs, lions, hungry eagles, hummingbirds, and a couple of animals that students state of mind couldn’t put in words.

Before entering into the tie dyeing session, that I knew it was going to take some time, and probably steal some part of our reflection time, I explained that March was Women History Month. I have left a strip of paper on each desk, and asked students to think about a woman in their family, and write something fun about her or why they like her. At the end of the session I was going to pass them out randomly and do an activity in which they needed to guess from which student’s family was the woman honored. We were caught up in the tie dying and playing soccer. I didn’t want to rush the activity, so probably I will revisit it next week.

What the students wrote is the heart of my slice and the reason why I love what I do.

I admire my tía – dad´s sister because she loves shopping and she inspires me to love the beauty of the world

My aunt Yasman is really nice. She always keeps me and my sister happy.

My mom has two jobs to take care of me and my brother

Lo que me gusta de mi hermana es que es buena conmigo / What I like of my sister is that she is good to me

Mi mamá porque ella trabaja y yo quiero ayudarla / My mom since she works and I want to help her.

Mi abuela Lupe taught me how to speak Spanish.

My great grandma makes good banana bread and I have her hair.

Me gusta mi tía Karin porque me cuida muy bien / I like my aunt Karin because she takes care of me very well.

My younger sister and her ability to be kind after face planting and still being comedic

Day 2: Dear Staff… #SOL2021 Challenge #SOLSC

This is an email I sent to the staff of my school today. Being English my second language, always takes me a long time to craft an email, and at the end, there are very long. Since I can’t help with the length part, I learned to use bullet points or numbers and highlight the important parts. The feeling of culpability is pervasive, though. Every time I click the send button, I blessed myself.

Here is the email:

Dear staff,

Several people have asked me about the library usage. I guess, I have been so trapped in my rearrangement of  the library collection that I never touched based with you about how you and your students can use the library until I finish the project (if you are interested in knowing what I am doing, just read the bottom of this email ;). 

Here are a couple of things you could do with your students and the library.

  1. I love people in the library at any time. Due to Covid restrictions it can only be one or two people at a time. When sending your students, please, ask them to touch base with me whether they get a book or not. As a proof that they have been in the library and talked to me, I will give them a piece of paper with a fun fact that they need to bring you back to the classroom. 
  2. I can visit your classrooms and show students how to search the catalog and place holds. After they learn, I can deliver the books requested to your classroom.
  3. I can go to your classroom to give booktalks, research and/or information fluency lessons (ex. Understanding Fake News). Check with me in advance so I can find somebody who can supervise staff students in the library.
  4. I can curate information needed for a project, or a long term unit.

Here are a couple of things you should know:

  1. Students can borrow as many books as they can carry and return responsibly.
  2. I don’t believe in late fees and respect students’ privacy, so I won’t post lists of students who have late books. However, they will be accountable. Hopefully, with your help, I will get the chance to teach them why and how to be responsible. 
  3. In the meantime, you can help me by telling students that if they have any book from this library (or any school or public library. I can return them to their base home) they should bring them here. A returned book is a happy book. The only thing they will get it’s a squeal of delight from me. If they can’t handle that, they should give the book away.

If you are interested…or still have time
Here is what I have been doing:

  1. I have been weeding and rearranging the library collection for easier and friendlier access. It’s still a work in progress. 
  2. So you know the collection had around 14,000 copies with an average of publication year of 1996. Of those 14,000 copies, 267 were published after 2015. None in 2020.
  3. I have weeded around 4,000 copies after developing a collection development and weeding policy. I hope to launch in the late Spring or maybe early Fall a Used Book Fair with all the Fiction books weeded plus all used books donated by students and staff. With the money we will buy books published in 2021-2022.
  4. I applied to two grants and got them. I have $1,300 to spend in books and $200 for one book of their liking by each member of the Latinx Club we started last Wednesday during LIPI time with 10 students. They will help me choose books for the library.

Phew. I am done. I didn’t grow up in the US and I will never comply with the adage “the shorter, the better”.My sincere apologies. I always feel guilty, but I can’t help it. Still, I am soooo happy to be your librarian!!!!
Have a nice day!

Pia

I received several kind replies. Here are two of my favorites:

I love it. Good humor included from my principal and

Thank you for your email. It’s my favorite email of the day! It’s the only one that made me smile! from the Speech Therapist.

Day 1: Dreaming in Dewey #SOL2021 Challenge #SOLSC

One year passed, I never wrote again in my blog and Covid is still here. Probably, everything is related or I am just coward to undress my soul.

In any case, as usual I thought the entire day of what to write, since my day was pretty dull, and still my brain is fried. Last November I started working in one of the middle school’s library at the same district. Last year I was in an elementary school.

I received a library with more than 14,000 copies, of which around 1,000 are lost since 2002 and I don’t know why nobody got the guts to delete them of the system. The average year of the collection was 1996, and out of the 14,000 copies, 267 were published after 2015. You don’t have to be very smart to realize that the library has been treated as the landfill of books. Everything was crammed in shelves with little breathing. Good books were screaming to get out and be read. Outdated books were sleeping, hoping somebody take them out of the stretcher, and make some art with them. Transform their misinformation in an abstraction that could be read in a different dimension.

After a month of assessing the situation, apply for a couple of grants, write a collection development policy to support my massive weeding endeavor, and explore eBooks possibilities with no budget, I started the tedious and exhausting task of weeding, and relocating books. The only advantage of a Covid situation is that students were distant learning. Perfect environment for throwing myself into the murky waters. I have been working long hours, putting extra 2 to 3 hours per day, just because I want to get done with it. Students started hybrid learning and I can’t wait to open the library to small groups. Still it’s an old collection, despite my weeding of around 4,000 copies. When I think I am done, more books show up under tables, in unknown corners, back offices I didn’t know exist or unopened drawers.

The obsession and time I have been putting in this project is so intense that a couple of nights ago, I dreamt in Dewey. Yes, people were talking through the Dewey Decimal System. You have to be a librarian or an old library user to understand my dream, but it went like this.

-Where are you going?

-I am going to play 796.352

-Again?

-Yes, you know the 551.6 was not good yesterday.

-How about you?

-I am going 796.6

-Well, be careful, especially with 625.26 and 629.222

-Did you feed the 636.7?

-Yes, I did, and tonight I will do some 641.5 since afterwards I want to watch a 791.43 about 940.53 on Netflix.

-I am so tired, I think I will read a 094 for a while. If it wasn’t because I am hungry I would think I am preparing a 393 or maybe we live in 154.4.

-I know this is just a 154.6

It wasn’t a nightmare, but it was definitely bizarre. I can’t wait to be done!

I was seriously thinking of moving this book to the 900s
Genrefying the collection: Historical Fiction
The beginning of my alive nightmare