Tag Archives: school

A Garden of Children.

“The days are long but the years are short”

Copyright Natalie DeRiso

What do you mean I start Kindergarten today? Didn’t you just have me?

This well-used saying can be found in parenting magazines, on blogs, and painted on wall hangings scattered all over Pinterest; and every parent knows why. In the middle of the day when children are crying and demanding attention; when the dirty and clean laundry piles have accidentally mixed together; when dishes are spilling out of the sink and it seems like there is no end in sight. There are moments when you can see the hours stretch out in front of you and can’t help but wonder if you will ever get caught up. Then, suddenly, you look down and are startled to realize that somewhere along the way a child has replaced your baby. Gone are the rolls of fat and coos of yesterday. Your baby is now all legs and elbows with her own opinions and likes and dislikes and you can’t help but wonder, “Where did the time go?”

Today my eldest child starts kindergarten. She has spent the last 5 years and 7 months with me, or being watched by my mom while I worked. This is the first time she will be away from home and in the care of others. Add to the equation a brand-new, two-month old baby sister and I am a little emotional about all of the life changes in our little family. I spent the summer avoiding the reality of the situation but last week, as I was reading an array of kindergarten themed picture books to my daughter, it finally dawned on me that we were no longer years or months away from it happening. Kindergarten was just a few short days. As I stared at the illustration of a little boy heading off to school, holding back tears and swallowing the lump in my throat, I tried in vain to figure out how 5 and a half years had disappeared right before my eyes.

Maybe tomorrow it will be a little easier.

my teacher is a monster

My Teacher is a Monster (No, I am not) by Peter Brown.

What is it like when you run into your mean teacher OUTSIDE of school? Robert is about to find out maybe his teacher isn’t so bad, after all.

planet kindergarten 2

Planet Kindergarten by Sue Ganz-Schmitt

Kindergarten: The final frontier. Kindergarten is a fun space mission for this astronaut!

countdown to kindergarten

Countdown to Kindergarten by Alison McGhee

What happens if you can’t tie your shoe? Will they still let you into kindergarten? (YES! They will!)

the pirate of kindergarten

The Pirate of Kindergarten by George Ella Lyon

Swashbuckling and high seas adventures can’t compare to kindergarten!

teacher

Teacher! Sharing, Helping, Caring by Patricia Hubbell

It can be scary to spend the whole day with a new adult, luckily teachers are awesome!

mom first day

Mom, It’s My First Day of Kindergarten! by Hyewon Yum

Is this new kindergartener worried about his first day of school? No way…but guess who is? Mom!

-Natalie

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Working

Out to Lunch by J. Seward Johnson

Out to Lunch by J. Seward Johnson

The crowning fortune of a man is to be born to some pursuit which finds him employment and happiness, whether it be to make baskets, or broadswords, or canals, or statues, or songs.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

First thing you should know about me: I have my dream job. Yesterday was my one year anniversary as the manager of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh- South Side.  I often walk into work and think, “Wow, I get to work here.” I’m surprised I have any sort of career, let alone one that brings me so much personal and professional satisfaction. (See next paragraph.)

Second thing you should know about me: I hate school. I hated grade school, middle school and high school. I hated college so much that it took me eight years to graduate. When I was done it felt like I had completed a prison sentence. I vowed I would never go back. I wouldn’t even go to Oakland.

In 2004 I was hired as a library clerk at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh- East Liberty. I loved it. Wait a second! I get to talk to people all day about books and I don’t have to work in a cubicle? Sign me up! I had to grit my teeth, suck it up and go back to school. Gross. But it was worth it. I am doing what I was meant to do.

(Every advisor I ever had dropped the ball on this one, including the jerk who suggested secretarial school.)

Find your perfect career at the library!

There are so many job and career resources at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. One of my personal favorites is a database called Career Cruising. I love the Assessment Tools. Take the Matchmaker test and discover what you should be doing! My first recommended job was cement mason. Roofer and chimney sweep also made the list. I think because I said I like working with my hands and being outside? Or because I love swearing? (I really do.)

Careers

See?

There are a lot of other neat tools at Career Cruising, including financial aid and employment searching, resume building and school comparison profiles. And don’t forget, you can always, always, always ask a librarian for help!

I’m not really a Who Moved My Cheese?/7 Habits of Highly Effective People/How to Win Friends and Influence People kind of reader. I’m less Oprah, more this. However, there are a few books that I have found worthwhile, especially when talking about having a calling in life.

Books

The Butterfly Hunter, Chris Ballard

Stories of people who found their callings way, way, way off the beaten path. Learn how glass eyes are made, learn the history of window-washing and meet a dude named Spiderman Mulholland.

Getting Unstuck, Timothy Butler

Feeling stuck in a rut, personally or professionally? Find yourself thinking that there definitely should be more of…whatever? Business psychologist Timothy Butler will help you recognize your rut and unstick yourself from your paralysis.

A Life at Work, Thomas Moore

A little touchy-feely, but if you are like me and define yourself by your job then you’ll enjoy this book.

Do you have a dream job? Or a very, very worst job?

-suzy

8 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

It’s Back to School Time!

schoolpicIf you have kids, by now they’ve probably started their school year. (Except, maybe, if your teachers are on strike, but that’s a whole other story!) I just want to take this moment to remind you that the Library is here for all of your school supplemental needs. If your child needs some extra help in a language, we have video, audio and print materials to help. If they need to do a report on a president, we have videos and books about everyone from Washington to Obama. If you want to know what you could be doing to encourage homework completion, we have books and online tutors for that. If you and your kids need a break, you need to know that the Library has movies and fiction and programs galore! Here is just a sample of what’s waiting for you and your school-age children at the library…

For You:

A Parents’ Guide to the Middle School Years by Joe Bruzzese

Making Friends: A Guide to Understanding and Nurturing Your Child’s Friendships by Elizabeth Hartley-Brewer

The Parent Backpack for Kindergarten through Grade 5: How to Support Your Child’s Education, End Homework Meltdowns, and Build Parent-Teacher Connections by ML Nichols

You and Your Adolescent: The Essential Guide for Ages 10-25 by Laurence Steinberg

For Your Preschooler:

3-2-1 School Is Fun!

200 Essential Preschool Activities by Julienne M. Olson

For Your Elementary School Student:

Making a Bully-Free World by Pamela Hall

My School Community by Bobbie Kalman

First Day of School by Anne Rockwell

Manners at School by Siân Smith

For Your Middle School Student:

Dealing with Bullies, Cliques, and Social Stress by Jennifer Landau

Spilling Ink: A Young Writer’s Handbook by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter

Stuck in the Middle of Middle School: A Novel in Doodles by Karen Romano Young

How Not to Choke on Tests: Achieving Academic and Testing Success by Stephanie Watson

For Your High School Student:

The Dictionary of High School B.S.: From Acne to Varsity, All the Funny, Lame, and Annoying Aspects of High School Life by Lois Beckwith

How to Become a Superstar Student [DVD] by Professor Michael Geisen

Been There, Survived That: Getting through Freshman Year of High School edited by Karen Macklin

Teens’ Guide to College & Career Planning: Your High School Roadmap for College & Career Success

For You & Your High School Senior:

Getting In Without Freaking Out: The Official College Admissions Guide for Overwhelmed Parents by Arlene Matthews

Tackling College Admissions: Sanity + Strategy = Success: Just for Parents by Cheryl Paradis and Faren R. Siminoff

Happy School Days!

-Melissa M.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Working and Writing

When I was a kid, I never wanted to be a ballerina or an astronaut. I wanted to be a writer. I wrote all through school. My undergraduate degree is in Writing. I kept a journal for twenty years. Yet I haven’t written a creative word since 2006. I often wonder if I’m being a sell-out because I have a totally square day job. *

Then I heard author Abraham Verghese (Cutting for Stone, My Own Country: A Doctors Story) at the Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures Monday Night Series. Verghese is an Infectious Diseases doctor who also happens to have an MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop. He spoke eloquently about having a calling in life. Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham is what inspired him to become a doctor. A very specific quote from it motivated him to write:

“Money is like a sixth sense without which you cannot make a complete use of the other five. Without an adequate income half the possibilities of life are shut off. The only thing to be careful about is that you do not pay more than a shilling for the shilling you earn. You will hear people say that poverty is the best spur to the artist. They have never felt the iron of it in their flesh. They do not know how mean it makes you. It exposes you to endless humiliation, it cuts your wings, it eats into your soul like a cancer.”

Verghese believes that if you have a job you love and pays the bills, you’re darn lucky. (Because despite the prevailing wisdom, suffering doesn’t make you more creative.)  And if you are able to write too, well, that’s gravy.

So. I’m going to write. Here are the books that inspire me to write.

For the language

For the characters

  • City of Thieves by David Benioff, a Jewish soldier in Russia, a dead German paratrooper, larger-than-life deserter Kolya.
  • World Without End by Ken Follet, a peasant’s wife, a knight, a builder and a nun.
  • Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende, the beautiful slave Zarité, French aristocrat Toulouse, Haiti, New Orleans.

For the story

  • Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefons Falcones de Sierra, the building of the Santa Maria del Mar in 14th Century Barcelona.
  • A Blade of Grass by Lewis DeSoto, two young woman surviving a civil war in post-colonial Africa.
  • So Much for That by Lionel Shriver, a darkly moving (and funny) story about the failure of the United States health care system.

For the voice

  • Room by Emma Donoghue, the voice of Jack, a five year old boy.
  • The Book Thief by Marcus Zuzak, the voice of Death (quite kind, actually.)
  • Dog Boy by Eva Hornug, the voice of an abandoned Russian toddler and a pack of wild dogs.

Hopefully I write the next Great American Novel and get filthy rich. However, in the event that I don’t, at least I have a job I love.

-suzy 

*This is a patently ridiculous worry, as I went to graduate school (and I hate school) to get this specific job and kind of love it.

7 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized