This is going to be difficult for me

On Monday, I had a follow-up doctors appointment that I was NOT looking forward to. When I saw my doctor in January, he told me to lose weight. I lost 9 pounds, started yoga, and was feeling pretty good about myself.

Then, work started getting stressful. I was trying so hard to deal with it cheerfully and just keep on keeping on. Then it got even MORE stressful and things started to happen to me. In the past month, even though I was eating ok, I gained that 9 pounds back PLUS 5 more. My blood pressure was up. My weight was up. The doctor said I had to COMMIT to do something about both. I could not agree with him more.

I then explained that I get home from work and I don’t want to do anything. I don’t want to cook. I don’t want to clean. I don’t want to craft. I told him I hurt everywhere and that I wanted to get happy Kathy back. So…we went through the PHQ-9 screening and bingo…Kathy is severely depressed. So, between the stress (causes weight gain due to high cortisol – the stress hormone), pain (stress and depression can cause physical pain), and my lack of desire to do anything much less get up and move – I’ve gained all that weight back and then some. Working with the doctor on the depression, pain, and stress part since Monday, and so far I’m feeling a lot better. Now, I have to work on the weight. The doctor told me to join Weight Watchers.

When I got home from the doctors appointment, I joined Weight Watchers online. I’m fully invested in getting healthy again. I have never done the before and after photo or posted my starting weight, current weight, and goal weight. EVER. I was always to embarrassed. I’m posting this to make myself accountable and to help me stay on track. This is my BEFORE photo and weight.

Starting weight: 315. Current weight: 310.3. Goal weight: 280

So there it is. Me in all my chunky monkey glory. Yes, I have lost 4.7 pounds since Monday. I’m darned proud of that. I’m feeling so much better and I really think I can do this.

Thanks for putting up with my long, involved, and overly personal story.

The Public

Today I took a break from reading children’s books and, instead, watched The Public. I will read two books tomorrow. Today I need to address this fabulous and moving movie and MY experiences working in a library.

It took Emilio Esteves 10 years to get this movie made. It is the story of Stuart, a librarian at an urban Cincinnati library, and the homeless patrons who decide to occupy the library during a vicious cold spell that is leaving frozen homeless people all over the city. The film touches on the causes of homelessness, the opioid crisis, mental illness, sleazy politicians, and the importance of libraries and their staff. I don’t want to give away the whole movie, so I will just say that it is really worth watching.

In 2009, I lost my administrative assistant position during the economic downturn. Like thousands, I was laid off. An angel named Angie Patterson, swooped in and saved me. She was the Library Manager and I knew her through my administrative assistant job. She offered me a part-time Library Technician position and kept me employed. I owe her so much.

Everyone thinks that people who work in libraries sit around reading all day. This is FAR from the truth. Let me tell you about my experience.

First, it is a non-stop, physical job. After my first part-time shift at the library, I slept for two days and could barely walk. Between standing for hours on end, bending to pick things up, emptying book drops, and reaching to shelve materials, I didn’t stop the whole time.

Second, every day is different. You never know what each day will bring. From odd objects found in the book drop to backed up plumbing, every day is an adventure. Since I don’t work in a large urban library like Stuart, my experiences haven’t been quite as news worthy. Some of my experiences in the past 10 years:

  • During the recession spent many hours helping patrons, who have never used a computer, to file for unemployment or assistance which had gone totally online.
  • Provided first aid to a patron that overdosed in the library and then later in the same day had a patron drive her car into a wall at the library.
  • Cleaned up poop left strategically in the middle of the floor in the men’s room.
  • Taught patrons how to get eBooks, stream our movie services, learn languages, and listen to audiobooks, on their electronic devices.
  • Entertained patrons with craft and food programs.
  • Helped a library school student with her homework (keeping in mind that I did not go to library school).
  • Found some interesting things in the book drop (partially eaten food, disgusting porn magazines, a tree branch, empty drink cups, beer bottles).
  • Found interesting things when cleaning up the library at closing (box of melted ice pops in the shelf in the children’s room, underwear, marajuana leaves in books, toys, papers with personal information, cell phones, power cords, purses, bags of change, shoes, library cards, drivers licenses left in the copier).
  • Helped newly diagnosed patrons research their diseases.
  • Met some amazing authors and read many wonderful and not so wonderful books.
  • Provided comfort and shelter for patrons after Hurricane Irma left people without electricity.

This is just what I could remember after watching the movie. My point here is that working in a library is not what people think it is.

Watch The Public and next time you visit your local library, share your appreciation with the staff. It will mean the world to them.

Thanks for reading.