Saturday, August 15, 2009


I've been thinking about the above a lot lately. The book I'm editing with a great friend-editor-writer is almost complete. All we have left is a final pass through the entire manuscript, the introduction (my last bit), and the acknowledgments. I'm almost done with the final reading/editing and the introduction is outlined and ready to be attached, but the acknowledgments have me stymied.

I'm of two minds about this form of the literary thank you. The most base reaction sounds like this in my head:

"THANKS?! I'm supposed to give thanks?! You're joshing me, right? Because this book has eaten up a part of my soul. There's hours in this thing that I'm not getting back. Hours of temperate sunny weekends that had me curled up on my porch with this laptop in my face instead of tending to my new garden or walking in Loose Park. There's a couple of great books I didn't get to read last spring. I haven't kept up with our city government goings-on or the New York Times Book Review. I've only seen ONE movie this summer and I'm pretty sure some of my friends have deleted my phone number from their speed-dials. I haven't cooked a meal in the last eight months and I have friends and family glaring at me on Facebook for missing messages, phone calls, parties, and concerts.

And who did any of this work, anyway, besides me, Jessica, and the contributing writers? I don't see anyone else reading these chapters for me. No one wrote my chapter. I don't see anyone packing away my computer when I nod off over it. Or plugging it in when the battery runs down. No one corrected typos or formatted TOCs or researched citations but me."

That's my Id there. Say hello to my Id. Hi, Id. You can take your selfish self back inside now. We appreciate your contributions.

And the other half of my mind is frantic looking for the people to thank. I want to make sure I don't leave anyone out. I want to give everyone credit. But I'm not sure who they all are. Even my husband snorted and said, "I didn't do a damn thing to help you with this book. Don't thank me for anything."

Yet, it occurs to me, I have plenty of people to thank. Lots of folks contributed to this book's completion, although most of them don't know it. And I didn't realize it until I sat down in my favorite coffee shop to work a little bit.

I want to thank the warm, welcoming, caffeine-friendly folks at One More Cup. They learned my name, remembered my favorite drink and tried to save the table in the window for me on Saturday mornings. The atmosphere at OMC is the most conducive to writing I have ever been in.

Lesbrarian deserves kudos for taking time out of her own editing to swap baldly honest emails about the banalities of writing. I always felt reinvigorated after trading complaints with her about our respective workloads.

The People's Liberation Big Band of Kansas City could propel me to heights of concentration I could not otherwise reach without their beautiful cacophonous symphonies ringing in my ears on Sunday nights. The intricate rhythms and quixotic melodies provided the best background music I've ever had.

My family and friends can never be repaid for all the times they dropped their guard and asked me, "Whattaya been doing?" and then listened to the details of the book's progress (without letting their eyes glaze over) and my hollow promises to "come up for air at the end of this month, I swear." They are a graciously impatient lot who did not wait for that to happen, but pried me from behind the computer to grab a meal or a drink, take a walk or visit a thrift shop and gently steered conversation away from the book. I'd go back to the work refreshed (albeit full of whopping guilt), but with an understanding that there's another life to go back to when this is over.

Colleagues at work contributed in other ways, too. My boss gave me all the time off I needed (usually at the last minute) to write. Another colleague ably took over the department on those days so I never had a moment's worry about it. One work friend never said anything more than, "Boy, that's sumthin'. Yer writin' a book" whenever I hid in his office to grouse about it. I owe big plates of gratitude to my editors at Booklist and NoveList who let me slide on all kinds of writing assignments to get this big one out of the way.

While he thinks he didn't have "a damn thing to do with it," my husband is correct in a sense. There's nothing of him in this book. Just like there's nothing of me in any of his musical compositions. But someone had to do the cooking, keep the cars running, and guide me through the finer points of laptop computer purchasing for the duration. And most importantly, whenever I gave in to the little demons and despaired this thing would ever be done and who the hell did I think I was anyway to do a book, what am I crazy or something, I can't do this. He'd look at me calmly and say, "Yes, you can."

I have to thank everyone above for being right. This journey is almost over and I could not have made it without any of you.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Three Rings

Not to rule them all. Three rings as in circus.

This morning has been spent in looking at all kinds of reports: self-check machine circulating reports, daily circ reports, hold reports, time sheet reports, ad infinitum.

A patron requested a book that we don't have any longer and I was able to get a quick turnaround on an order for her. I had a phone call about a lost set of keys with a library card on the ring and was able to contact the patron who had lost the keys and let her know where they were.

I found a second life for about 40 copies of a book I thought I had to weed and I'm very grateful for that. I didn't want all of them to wind up in landfill and now they are going to a good home.

Our staff meeting today was very successful until it was interrupted by a parking snafu. Everyone on staff as well as some visiting staff members learned the difference between collection agencies, credit reporting bureaus, and bankruptcies.

Housekeeping items included reviewing laptop problems, adjusting timesheets, and learning how to use a new staff Instant Messenger program. I also started a discussion with a co-worker about the future of e-readers in the Library. We've rainchecked it to continue at another time.

And now, it's off to work the desk until closing tonight. I will try to compose a blog post for a friend, contact possible speakers for a series of programs, catch up on emails, and outline a plan for roving customer service for front line staff.

This is the stuff they didn't teach you in library school.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Twofer Tuesday

It seemed like everything happened in pairs today. Double the interruptions, double the meetings, double the wackness.

Today I prepped for an early morning meeting that I hadn't prepped for yesterday and it went a little longer than expected. I confirmed plans for an OPAL presentation I will be giving at another library system and begged and pleaded with friends, colleagues, and complete strangers for names of folks who know more than a passing bit about the Bronte sisters.

I listen a lot at my job. When you listen a lot, you hear a lot of interesting things. I listened to a friend tell me how nutty things are in his department and then I listened to another friend tell me how loony things are in her department. I listened to a friend tell me how kooky things were in his department when he was there. I am convinced I work in a gigantic fun house of psychiatric wonders and anxieties.

I handled some bounced email and updated some collection agency accounts for a patron who should not have been contacted. I read about the new Kindlesque device Apple is trying to roll out and consulted with a staff member about a volunteer who may be able to assist us with our computer classes.

The nicest thing that happened today? While I was covering a break for another staff member, a patron called to tell me how wonderful this staff member had been to her. She gushed on and on and it was a delight to listen to her wax ecstatic about this staffer. Who is everything she said he is.

At the end of the day I watched our beautiful Library get ready for a program that would be hosting 500 people. This is old hat for us and all the staff handle it like the consummate pros they are.

But I was just too tired to stick around for this one.

Monday, July 27, 2009

To do equals mostly to done

There are a few things left on the above, but for the most part, the day went as planned.

While I was preparing the daily cash register amounts for today and next weekend, I received an update from a staff member about a patron who has been providing instructions to fellow bbs members about how to steal books from a library.

Another staff member showed me an item that a patron brought into the library that he had not checked out. He was merely returning it for another patron who had also not checked out said item but had a habit of wandering into the first man's place of business and leaving behind library materials. The first man is gracious enough to recognize the rightful owner and return the property to the Library.

As usual, there are small glitches with the circulating laptops. Laptop 11 is missing a key on the keyboard, the all import |\ key. Laptop 2 can't circulate without a charger, laptop 1 is still in for repairs and laptop 5 is just being ornery.

I prepped for a meeting with a friend at the local paper regarding the book group we co-facilitate/organize. The best part of this meeting was having lunch in the pub across the street. The worst part was realizing we couldn't have a beer with lunch. We hammered out reading selections for the next year with some kibutzing from a fellow diner and feel we have a solid list that will appeal to men, women, seniors, teens, and folks who just think talking about reading is fun.

I updated two ongoing lists of Street Fiction with new titles and reviewed and posted the schedule for next week. The staff meeting for Wednesday is planned and ready with one correction to a document that will be presented by another staff member. I will only have to provide cookies and take attendance.

I still have to prepare for tomorrow's meeting and start drafting a training plan for a meeting next week. But on the whole, today has been okay and tomorrow will be better.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

As the World Circs

In preparation for the Library Day in the Life blog project that begins tomorrow, I thought I'd get a head start. Like I normally do before my work week begins.

On Sunday nights, I empty out the messenger bag. I throw all the lunch containers in the dishwasher, pick out all the paperclips, spare change, and bits of paper that have fallen to the bottom. I arrange everything neatly, plug in all electronics (cell phone, laptop) to recharge batteries, and review calendar. I make a mental list of what needs to be done this week and try to remind myself that there will be at least five fires that will require my attention before the end of tomorrow. I may have a plan, but it will be derailed.

It took me three years to get right with that. It's always good to have a list of what needs to be done, but it's even better to understand that there will be unexpected and unnamed complications that will hinder the progress. A successful work week, for me, depends primarily on how I handle the disruptions and interruptions as they arise, since I won't be able to plan for them or schedule them.

But right now, on the list of Monday's things to do:
1. Gather materials for a meeting on Tuesday morning
2. Prepare for a meeting at the Kansas City Star
3. Review and post next week's schedule. Send email informing of any anomalies in next week's schedule.
4. Make changes in next month's schedule.
5. Review and approve last week's time sheets.
6. Confirm coverage so staff can attend monthly department meeting.
7. Plan and promote next meetings of two book groups.
8. Write customer service plan for self-service initiative.
9. Post to Library blog.
10. Pull files on three staff members and begin preparations for annual reviews.
11. Pick up August bus pass.
12. Prepare cash register banks for three public service desks.

I better make sure I do number 11. It's the most important on the list. Will pop back in tomorrow with an updated list of things to do, what really got done, what didn't get done, and what the road blocks were.

Anyone but me notice that shelving and reading didn't make the list of things to do?

Monday, April 20, 2009

As seen on Shovers & Makers

whooooffft. Puh-puh-puh. Is this thing on? Can you HEAR{screeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEEEeee} me?

Oh, sorry, everyone. I guess I got a little too close to the keyboard. Okay. So. I’m supposed to say a few words about me, who I am, what I do, why I’m here, and stuff like that, is that it?

You know, this Shovers & Makers thing kinda feels like a job interview or that time I made the Movers & Shakers list. All the interviewers wanted was to talk about me and you know what? I’m tired of talking about me. I’m not just the Head of Readers’ Services for Kansas City Public Library. There’s way more to me than that. I’m already planning for my retirement. My second career is going to be heavy machinery operator. Yeah.

And I’m not just a columnist for Booklist or NoveList, either. I write thank you notes, too. And rude and quirky postcards to my friends. And pithy comments on bathroom walls about the weak drinks they serve at the Riot Room.

Yeah, I blog. I blog a lot at Book Group Buzz and occasionally guest stint over at Likely Stories. I ride herd on Off the Page, too. I’ve even been known to dash a few lines for my own blog, Kaite’s Bookshelf.

Sure I was KCMLIN Trainer of the Year. Big deal. Did anyone tell you about the time I spelled “cartilage” correctly for the Library’s Books ‘n Beer team in the city-wide spelling bee? No? That’s because they don’t think that’s im-por-tant.

So I was Macmillan’s Librarian of the Month last August. So what? I won a hula hoop contest that same month at Crosstown Saloon and no one wrote about that.

Kaite Mediatore Stover awaits the next cage match

Kaite Mediatore Stover awaits the next cage match

No one ever asks me about the really important things. Like is it true I’m part owner of Ebbsfleet United? Can I really tap dance and read tarot cards? And why don’t I just bake the cookie dough already and stop eating it out of the bowl? See? Those things are crucial. They are integral to my personality. But all anyone wants to know is when I’m going to get my rear in gear and get those two chapters submitted to Jessica and Mary K. and then finish my own book. I don’t know, okay? Stop nagging, already!

Look, are we done here? Because I’m seriously falling behind in my loafing and you’re not helping. If you want to get me out of this jam, pass me the sidewalk chalk and bubbles and let’s go outside and git ‘er done. C’mon. Whattayasay? Enough about me. Let’s talk about you.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Ten Websites that Turn My Brain to Porridge

1. Style—I don’t claim to be any kind of fashionista. I like to comb the racks at this site for inspiration that I then take to the thrift shops. It’s amazing what some designers think real people will wear and I like to view the runways and picture how the “look” could be adjusted for a woman with boobs, hips and a butt.

2. Postsecret—This secret haven reminds me that no matter what I think is wrong with me or my life, there’s folks with bigger problems who will still help me get through mine.

3. Webcams—I love these things. I can waste hours watching pandas, the Seattle skyline, aurora borealis, construction sites, space weather, auto repair, you name it.

4. GoodReads Never Ending Book Quiz—positively addictive. Test your knowledge of books, authors, literary history, and more. How could any librarian NOT want to pit her wits?

5. Your Daily Art—a little piece of art history almost every day. The way art should be viewed, one savory bit at a time.

6. NPR—I find subjects I didn’t know I was interested in whenever I stop by this site. It’s an intellectual’s sinkhole.

7. Urban Dictionary—Adding to my cocktail party vocabulary is always on my list of things to do.

8. Rock and Roll Confidential—I howl at the Hall of DBs. And I want a Your Band Sucks t-shirt.

9. eBay—I can’t stop looking for vintage beaded cardigan sweaters, Paden City pottery, antique mirrors, and body parts. Or any contraband.

10. Project Rungay—the best fashion snark out there. Two fabulously witty and smart bloggers who took an obsession all the way to Bryant Park.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ten Radio Programs That Will Make Me Donate Money

1. Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me—My favorite newsies are Roxanne Roberts, Adam Felber, and Charlie Pierce. It's an IQ show for eggheads. But funny.

2. Only a Game—Did I mention Charlie Pierce? One of the funniest and most insightful sports commentators on radio today? And Bill Littlefield. It’s not just sports, it’s FUN! They covered the Library Book Cart competition in Anaheim. You can HEAR these guys smile.

3. Up to DateSteve Kraske’s gimlet-eyed view of all things Kansas City gives me something to think about every time he’s on the air. I like his thoughtful comments on his topics. He’s always prepared. Not like those clowns on…

4. The Walt Bodine Show’s Book Doctors segment—I can say that because every once in a while the producer slips up and invites me on the air with some frighteningly smart reader/critics like Mark Luce and John Mark Eberhart and Steve Paul. Listen to the December 2007 show for Mark, John Mark and me totally winging it and having a blast.

5. This American Life—it’s like Twitter, but with more than 160 characters per post.

6. New Letters on the AirAngela Elam’s voice sucks me into the program as much as the writers suck me into their work. I will always treasure her interview with Tomas Riley.

7. Night Tides—soothing lullabies for adults.

8. KC Currents—I enjoying hearing the voices with the names in the news on the local front.

9. StarDate—satisfies my inner science-geek without subjecting me to a long multi-syllabic lecture. Bite-sized astronomy; the Milky Way chocolate bar of radio.

10. Thistle & Shamrock—I defy ANYONE not to attempt a jig while listening to this show.

Rejuvenating Juvenile Games

Ten Best

I used to play this game as a kid called “Ten Best”. I’d make lists of all kinds of things: Ten Best Foods to have in the House When the Power Goes Out; Ten Best People to go to the Carnival With; Ten Best Candies to get on Halloween; Ten Best Sugared Cereals My Mother Won’t Let me Eat.

I’m going to try to revive that game this year. Please note that as I am a sporadic blogger, esoteric in taste, and probably downright wrong about some things, this won’t be a regular activity. But it’ll be fun while it lasts. For me, anyway.

And it's Spyder's fault that I'm doing this. Her link is making me stay current with this blog.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Goodbye Season

I love summer and I love fall. Summer evenings on my porch, listening to the cicadian symphony accompanied by the occasional timpani yowl of a neighborhood cat, watching the dusk turn gently to night , I can feel time stopping to listen and watch along with me. Autumn mornings stir my blood. Walking quickly to the bus stop through the crispy cool air, breathing hard to watch the small clouds of steam, and avoiding dewy grass, I am almost fooled into thinking my bus will be yellow and not green when it finally pulls up.

But like many of us, I don’t tolerate sudden change easily. For me, last week’s cold snap wasn’t a harbinger of more, but different, enjoyable weather. It reminded me that summer is coming to a close and I need to prepare for that, mentally, physically, spiritually. It was a forced period of transition and I balked. Those in-between days are my “goodbye season.” It didn’t last long, but I realized I wasn’t quite ready for summer to be over, even though I have many wonderful things in the fall to look forward to.

I’m not ready to abandon my garden. Folks in my neighborhood already think I’ve abandoned it, but now that the beds are ready and I have some weekend time, I want to plant sweet alyssum and snap dragons and lambs’ ear and cone flowers. It’s too late for that, yet I always thought I’d have plenty of time whenever I walked past the bare plots.

I’m not ready to say goodbye to my summer wardrobe. I don’t want to swap out my tank tops and flip flops for stockings and pumps. I don’t want to pull out all my jeans and fold up my shorts, or dig through drawers, ignoring cotton shortie pajamas and silky nighties, looking for flannel pants and thermal tops.

I’m not ready to winterize my house by putting the crocheted afghans and Mexican striped throws on the couch and tucking away the tiny pillows. Or making a choice between flannel sheets and soft cotton ones. Replacing the colorful summer quilt with the heavy down comforter. I can’t bear to tell my plants they can no longer spend their days outside on the porch, sunbathing. They must now come inside and fight for window spots, dropping leaves in protest at being cooped up, and leaving water rings of disapproval on wooden table tops.

I balk at taking leave of dining and drinking al fresco, easily my most favorite summer activity. I can’t bear to turn away from salads, popsicles, outdoor grilled catfish and red peppers, fresh vegetables from my neighbor’s garden, lazy beers on Venus’ deck, iced mochas on Muddy’s patio, brunch mimosas under Classic Cup umbrellas.

I don’t know how I’ll pack up my summer reading. All those adrenaline-pumping thrillers, friendship-filled chick lit novels, baseball, NASCAR, and Olympic expose’s, the whimsical and escapist fantasy and science fiction, the chill-inducing horror (only read during the hottest days).

I want my ballet, Shakespeare and baseball in the park. I want to hear the pulsing beat of the blues at a street festival, watch the buskers on the Plaza sidewalks, cheer the reckless drivers at the demolition derby, judge corn and pigs, and battle the exhilarating fear at the top of the ferris wheel at the county fair.

How could I say goodbye to all that? But I will. If not graciously, then sulkily, but only for a moment. Until I warmly greet all the bounty and beauty that is autumn.