Library Diva's Guide to Volunteering…

{November 17, 2011}   Library Diva’s checking out…

In another week, I’ll cease managing library volunteers and begin my new duties in managing volunteers who assist the elderly.

It’s been a good run. 5 years of crazy stories as you may have read and 5 years of smiles and frustration but a good 5 years none the less.

I’ve always been a helpful diva. Just enough selfishness to make sure I’m good to go, but a lot of giving to help those who’s just had a bad hand dealt to them.

I’m ready, willing and able to help our elderly population. Life is hard enough and when we can make it into our 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, they are going to need this diva to help ease their burdens. Heaven only knows I’ll be there one day hoping someone will be able to ease mine!

For those that are visiting this blog, please continue to enjoy these little stories and snippets of my days as a Library Volunteer Manager, and for those that may miss the diva and all the antics that may seem to follow her, look for my new blog soon.

Haven’t decided on the name yet, but I’m sure “Senior Diva” will be in the title somewhere 🙂

Cheers~ Thanks for reading! Time for a Martini!


{June 21, 2011}   Biking=Freedom

I’ve been away from you quite a bit this month because I had committed to biking every day in June, remember? I had swallowed more bugs than I thought could be good for the human digestive system, but I persevered until…well, let’s just say I was doing really well, by myself, until my love asked me if he could bike along. He biked me what seemed to be over 15 miles of hills and valleys…he pushed, he taunted, he raced, he coasted, he went ahead, he lagged behind (and made comments), and to say the least, he killed my fun of biking. I haven’t been on my bike since that day and wonder when and if I will be on it again…

Now, that doesn’t mean I still don’t like the bike. Just last week, I had a young teen volunteer come in to visit me with his mom. He had done some required community service for us at the library and actually really really liked it. He doesn’t have that great of a home life and I chatted with him and his mom and told him that even though his required service is done, he can still escape to the library. He told me it was pretty far to walk to and he didn’t always have a ride to get there.

“You are young! Just hop on your bike and ride to the library!”

“My bike is all busted up, its bent and I can’t fix it.”

“If I got you a bike, would you get out of the house and away from all the fuss and the video games and ride it to the library?”

“Yeah..but how you gonna git me a bike?”

“I know lots of people, and if I don’t know them, I will find them…you’d be surprised how there are good people out there in the world… Would you ride it for good and not use it for evil? Like having  super powers?”


“OK…I’ll call you later and let you know what I find out…”

Even his mom seemed surprised. After we worked out the conditions of HER community service, I sent them on their way and hit the internet. I had wanted to rent a tandem for me and my love (before he was the fun killer of bike riding) a couple of weeks ago on one of the bike trails through town and had stumbled upon a link to a non-profit that supplied bikes to kids that didn’t have any, couldn’t afford any or were in need.

A simple email sent, 20 minutes later, a simple response sent back… “ABSOLUTELY!” and through conversation, I think I even made a new friend. “Everyone has a story to tell and should have a bike to ride.” She told me. In two days, there will be one more bike rider. We are going to pick it up on Thursday.

He was very very happy…very surprised…but very happy.

People are good.

{June 7, 2011}   Smells like Teen Spirit!

I stopped in our TeenZone to give a pep talk on volunteering and go over the policies and procedures to our Teen Advisory Board and when I walked in the room I didn’t expect almost 20 kids in there!

I was dually impressed that all stereotypes were represented! I felt like I was in the library with a meeting of the Breakfast Club.

Its great to see such involvement and enthusiasm. It’s tough now with people with Masters degrees getting jobs that usually are reserved for teens. I know of some Ph.D’s scooping ice scream and waiting tables. Teens want to be involved and busy. What’s the old saying, Boredom breeds Destruction?

Not only will these teens be planning our teen activities, but they’ll be participating in our movie nights, wii game nights, helping with projects and shelving materials. It’s an exciting time for us and for them!

Very cool…

{May 31, 2011}   Blogathon 2011

Well, this is it. I’ve blogged for the whole month of May. 31 days of posts and letting you in to my weird little world more then I ever thought I could or would.

Being able to post entries and stories every day was a commitment. Something I haven’t under taken in a long time. Starting and finishing something. Setting myself to making sure I follow through,  I’ve signed up for the blog- a-thon and by hook or by crook I’ll see it through to the end.

Why can’t I be that with so much other stuff in my life? I’m going to take this experiment in blogging every day and add it to something else in my life. I think for June, I’ll Bike-a-thon. I’m going to make a commitment to ride my Wicked Witch of the West bike (or my 10 speed Schwinn Caliente) every day. Rain or shine. Heat or Humidity. If I can Blog every day, I can bike everyday…

Don’t miss me too much in June. Just imagine that if there’s not a post…I’m biking…


{May 30, 2011}   Holah Guacamolah!

I was making my famous guacamole for the usual family cook out today and with my herbs in full throttle out in the yard thought I’d do a little caprice salad and salsa as well…

Coming in and out of my kitchen door to snip and snap off chives, parsley, green onions,  basil and oregano my neighbors across the way, through the two houses behind me caught my eye. How they caught my eye I’m not sure, when I’m home, I melt into my own little world. My own little place of seclusion, like my office at work. I’m rather shy and quiet, easily turning it on when I have to in regards to being social, or getting upset, but almost always resorting back to my own quiet little world that surrounds me. Remember it was Mighty Mo that alarmed me of my neighbor’s New Year’s house fire!

I had just snipped off the right amount of chives when I saw this husband and wife neighbor team walk toward their car. She was to be driving and so she unlocked the door with her hand held device. He waited by the front door passenger side. She opened the door behind the driver’s side and placed her purse in the seat and closed the door. He stood there, watching her. Surely, she had unlocked the door for him to get it? It was pushing 90 degrees already today and it wasn’t noon yet. Get in man! Get out of the sun!

She opened the front driver’s side door again and proceeded to get in and sit down, and then he got in on his side…Wait!? HOLD THE PHONE! Could he have waited for her to get in first and sit before he went in????

Now that is true old school…and that is very very nice.

About 3 miles from my house, buried in some tall trees and vegetation is a small graveyard, with civil war vets and other vets buried there. A scouting group that I know of is righting the headstones with cement and sand, clearing the debris and marking the grave sites on the web for genealogy buffs to find ancestors.

Of all weekends, I thought today might be a good day to check on their progress and show my support. The road to the graveyard runs along side a rather large creek that feeds into a river that runs through town. It’s winding and has quite a bit of trees and bushes along the road. With all the rain we’ve had everything seems extra green, and with all the storms we’ve had, there are lots of sticks, limbs and debris scattered along the road.

My love and I were driving toward the graveyard when we saw something strange up ahead…it took a while for us to figure where it fell in the animal, vegetable, mineral category. It was a rather large turtle and it was trying to cross the road…

My love slowed to a stop and put on the hazzards. I jumped out and began to find a way to assist it in it’s journey without it becoming road splat. It looked like it had just begun it’s journey, trying to cross to the other side. I wondered how I could help it along. It was pretty big and looked pretty heavy. I tapped its back end with my foot and it scootched a little faster. I thought that might be the way to do it, so I took my foot again and tried to move it along another foot. Out of no where, it’s head stretched out which seemed to be 5 feet long and its jaws with it’s pointy snapping mouth started snapping. It spun around on a dime, jaws open, neck extended, eyes beady…!

We did a stare off for what seemed like an eternity. It spun around again, snapped at me extending it’s powerful jaws as if to say, “I dare you to kick my butt again…”

As if I had just robbed a bank, I ran back to the vehicle and shouted “DRIVE DRIVE DRIVE!” My love floored it, swerving to miss the sharp jaws as it lurched for our tires…

About a 1/2 hour later, on the way back along the same road, it was no where in site. I’m sure it made it, I have no doubt that it made it…

I spend quite a bit of time at the gas station. The number one reason is that I drive a very large SUV. The other reason is that I’m on the go…alot. I’ve never eaten a gas station breakfast sandwhich, or a corn dog, pizza or hot dog, but I have had my fair share of slushies.

I’m not the kind of diva that comes out with two Mountain Dews under my arm pits either. I don’t do the dew. I wasn’t raised that way…What I will come out with is the usual lottery ticket, scratch off or Powerball, a few pennies I’ll grab off the floor or the pavement (my best day was a $10 bill!) and gum. Usually, lots and lots of variety of gum.

One of the most interesting things that I have noticed over time is the instruction on the pumps. As an avid reader, library worker and absorber of useless information, I read everything from cereal boxes to gas pumps, and my latest trips to the pump have been a little disturbing, not because of the prices, but because I think big gas business may be taking advantage of people…in more ways then we think…

The first time I noticed, I had done my prepay, was walking out to the truck, popped a piece of Mentos gum in my mouth and assumed the usual stance of gas pumping, the removal of the gas cap, the grabbing of the nozzle and then I saw it…the instructions of how to pump gas…all in drawings. Drawings you’d see maybe for those that don’t speak English, or can’t read, or aren’t from this country.

The hand is pressing on the most expensive gas. I thought, well, it’s just pressing on the last button, which happens to be the premium. Not so, in all my gas pumping ventures since then, I’ve noticed that sometimes, the premium is the second button, or the first, or the fourth, and all the photos are displaying the hand pressing the most expensive.

Hmmmm….very interesting.

Even with the sun shining, a smile on my face and a flower in my hair, you can almost always count on me wearing black.

I walked in to my closet this morning and wondered what I should wear. The black shirt, black dress, black pants, black sandals, black capris or black jacket. I put on a black tank under a maroon jacket and I felt that it was too bright.

I think I let black be my canvas and I allow my color to be my personality. A smile adds tons of color, a sense of humor is like a splash of rainbow, a spring flower in your hair just brightens up a room.

Oh well, I’ll just continue to wear my black and just accessorize with me…:)

{May 23, 2011}   friends of all kinds…

One of our volunteers, Eleanor,  took several months off to take care of her constant companion and friend, Max. Max had trouble getting around, had several surgeries, and needed constant care. I checked in with her periodically to make sure she wasn’t wearing herself out as a caregiver and she said she’d do what needed to be done to make sure Max was being cared for, not in so much pain and to ensure that Max knew that he was loved.

Right before Christmas, I got the call from her that Max had passed away. She was heartbroken. I sent her a card and told her that no one could have had a more special friend to care for him while he was ill then her. They were good friends.

Around February, Eleanor decided that she needed her mind on something else, and that she needed to be busy again so Eleanor came back 1 day a week. We sat in my office and chatted and laughed about Max. How even though he was arthritic, he would still be able to crawl up into her lap. How he’d put his cold nose on her cheek when she fell asleep in her chair…how he slopped water everywhere when he drank…

…what?…oh, I’m sorry, I thought I mentioned it earlier…Max was her black lab. Her big baby, her constant friend and companion.

I had another volunteer who’s son moved out and when he moved was unable to take his black lab puppy. Already in some financial hardship, this volunteer noticed a bin I had set out for dog food for the WALOP (We All Love Our Pets) for Meals on Wheels and the Pet Food Bank that our local Humane Society sponsors. He explained that he and his wife just fell in love with “that little rascal” and he’s brought such joy to their house, but he’s eating more than they are now.

Eleanor saw the bin outside my office and asked about it. I explained what it was for and faithfully, every week she’s brought in dog food. When I told her about the lab puppy, she’s earmarked all of her donations “for the man with the little max”.

She’s not ready yet for another dog, it will take time, but for now, she’s taking care and loving another dog, even if its not sitting in her lap.

I try so very hard not to be negative but I’ve had a heck of a month so far. I took some time off on Friday to do a break out session on volunteer management and so I was making up some hours on Saturday. I had already set several appointments so I was getting people in and out, working out community service plans and assignments and had planned on staying the afternoon. I had a very busy personal morning running around town so for Saturday afternoon, rain was in the forecast so I thought it was just a good time to buckle down and finish up some loose ends.

My first few meetings were pretty cut and dry. National Honor Society students, all pretty simple. I like working with the students and it seems that my reputation is preceding me among this age group. Kids will talk, text and tweet and when I have one appointment set, they always seem to bring friends…

My next meeting was a little more aggravating. Why does it seem that professional and advanced degreed individuals on probation hold an elite attitude when it comes to their community service? I was presented with several resumes on Saturday. Listen, you got the same offense from driving home from a Champagne tasting just as you would have if you were playing darts and beer pong. I don’t need to know your degrees and the details of your professional busy life. What I will tell you is that I’m a professional as well and as long as you may have been practicing dentistry, I too have been honing my skills in this job. Geesh!

I was beginning to sink a little lower in my chair after this barrage of volunteer. I knew the work day would be a little challenging considering my previous screenings with all these individuals by phone so I set them up in an order I could handle…quick and high energy-high school students, smart but know it all professionals, and needy and I want…workfare.

Not only did I hand out the workfare assignments but I was also asked to write an appeal letter to help someone get back in to college (which I denied for the reason that if you can’t write a letter explaining why you dropped out in the first place by yourself, why would they pay for you to go again???) and help someone apply for disability benefits. Ok. I felt that I didn’t help the first person with their letter, so I better explore the disability benefit help. Going for the win/win, I pulled up the government page for the application process.

“oh…I know how to do it, I just need someone to do it for me. I don’t have time to do it…”

“well…is it because you are working? It looks like there are several ways to apply, phone, letter and online…”

“I know..I just don’t want to do it…”

“You want to apply for disability benefits, but you don’t want to apply?”

“well…I’m busy.”

“If you don’t mind me asking, exactly what is your disability?”

“I have a callous on my toe.”

“I’m sorry, did you just say that your disability is that you have a callous on your toe?”

“yes, when I leave here, I’m going to soak it and work on it.”

“I see…”

I can’t believe this actually was happening and unfolding before my eyes and ears….I had just had my blood pressure screening done not 4 hours before this meeting and I was borderline going to be admitted to the hospital for being a stroke risk. I felt my pressure rising, my face becoming red, a pulsing in my head…and if I had a mirror, I’m sure my eyes were bulging out with a cartoon thermometer hovering above me throbbing….

Now, I’m not that cold and insensitive…I understand serious foot problems, but she showed it to me…and it was a very normal…callous. For Real? Get a ped egg!

I paper clipped all of her handouts, her work assignments, my form letters, and a copy of the email I had sent the trustees explaining her assignment and work fare and handed it across the desk with my card…I also jotted down the number of the local  Work One agency and told her that they may be a better option to assist her with her application process.

“oh..I’ve already talked with them…and they did the same thing you just did, I just want someone to fill it all out for me…you know.. do it for me… I work 4 hours a day 3 times a week, and have teenagers at home, plus my toe…I’m busy…”

My  Jimmeny Cricket inside me was yelling “danger…danger…”. I furrowed my brow, put on my best I-totally-understand-face and nodded and smiled.

“yes…I’m sure it’s very hard for you….”

As she got up to leave…I got up to leave as well…forget it…I give up…but not before I slipped a baby aspirin under my tongue….

et cetera
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