Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Passion about work

I've been thinking a lot about passion at work lately, and what makes me a good Librarian.  I have a lot of passion for serving the public and I care deeply about doing the right thing, making a difference in the world, stuff like that.  So it's been hard for me, during this down time, to keep myself motivated and keep my head in the game.  I've been fortunate to have good friends who've supported me and helped me remember what I'm about when I get low and I've also participated in some webinars and done some research here and there.

One thing that is challenging for me is that, for each job, I research and prep  and build up a passion for that library.  As I prepare for an interview I research the town, learn about the library, check out census numbers, create charts and graphs with data I find, heck, I even look at the housing stock in the area.  I learn as much as I can about the community around that library so that when I interview I can speak directly to that board of trustees (or whoever is interviewing) about what they are facing.  So I build up my passion for that place.  I get excited about the possibilities, I care.  I can't help but think that one of these times it's going to pay off . . . right?  I've written vision statements for some of these libraries, I've created goals and objectives, drafted plans for collection development, staff training, customer service, etc. 

Yea, someday the board will think mine is the best plan.  The waiting is hard.  You see, I get all passionate about a place and then when I don't get to go to that place it makes me sad.  Still, it's exciting to go through this process and I'm learning more each time.

Monday, November 18, 2013

What Makes You Happy?

A friend just posted an article from Buzzfeed that is a list of things scientifically proven to make you happier.  I believe these things are true as I've found them to be true in my own life!

I am going to take care of 1, 2 and 3 simultaneously tonight as I sit here in my blue office room wearing a blue sweatshirt that evokes wonderful memories of a trip to LA about 14 years ago and blog a quick list of what I'm grateful for.  Then I'm going to take care of 9 and 4 by going to bed and praying (meditating) before sleep.

  • I am thankful for a family that loves me and loves one another; my parents who have been examples of grace and generosity my whole life, my big brother who would move mountains for me if I needed, my sister who loves me with a ferocity that is unmatched, their spouses who love and support them, and my many "adopted" siblings.
  • I am thankful for my son.  He is a miracle in so many ways, even just for surviving the uncertain beginning in this life that my weak body gave him, but he's so much more than that: creative, smart, thoughtful, kind, sincere and passionate about his dreams and goals.  I am so thankful to be his mother.
  • I am thankful for my dear friends, who provide support and encouragement to me during the rough times, adventure and excitement during better times and laughter through both.
  • I am thankful for my dear new friend Troy, brilliant, funny, kind and thoughtful, who has been a source of joy these last 6 months despite my crazy, crazy life.  I don't believe that it's a coincidence that during one of the lowest times in my life I have been given the gift of such a great source of joy and love.  (yea, I said the L word)
  • I am thankful for the health that I have.  I've had many challenges but still I am here, I am upright, I am mobile and I am able to live a good life thanks to a Gracious God and excellent medical care (and pretty damn good insurance, despite the insanity of our health care system).  I honestly never thought I'd live to see 50, and yet here I am, less than a year away and going strong.
  • I am thankful for the Lord Jesus Christ who died on a cross for my sins, those I've already committed and those I have yet to commit, so that I may live forever in the presence of God.
  • I am thankful for the roof over my head, even with the little leak.  It's a lovely house and someday (soon, I hope!) someone else will see how lovely it is and want to buy it from me!  But for now I am thankful I can still make the mortgage payments and so on.
  • I am thankful that I have yarn and needles so that I can be creative and practical at the same time.
  • I am thankful for my cat, Rosie, who has learned how to snuggle.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


We have high winds today and a tornado watch.  Fun times!  I actually love thunder storms.  I know I'm not the only one!  I love how there is palpable energy in the air.  There is so much power in nature, and to see it manifested like that is really amazing.

I guess that's all I have to say today.  Enjoy the rain!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Blog Posting Month FAIL!

Yea, well, I was gonna post every day in November, even while on vacation, but you know what?  I didn't!  Ha!  I was too busy!  And jet lag, oh boy, howdy, did I have some jet lag!  Hawaii is really stinkin far away, let me tell ya, and it's 5 time zones from here.  I think we just got acclimated to their time and we had to come home.  I returned Thursday, Nov. 14 but it's taken me a few days to get other things taken care of so I could sit down and blog. 
Still, it was AWESOME!

I will list things that were fabulous about the trip in random order:
  • Hawaii is a really beautiful place.  It rains but for the time we were there it was gentle rain and it ended quickly.  Even overcast days in Hawaii are more beautiful than I could have imagined.

  • The Pali Lookout was really neat!  A friend (Hi Katie!) recommended that we go up there and it was worth the quick jaunt.  There's not much to do, but it's a way-high lookout on the mountain and the winds are so strong I thought I was going to lose my clothing.  Seriously!  It's on a pass through the mountains and you get a panoramic view of the windward (East) side of the island of Oahu.

  • I love swimming in salt water.  The added bouyancy is fun and it's amazing to think about how vast the water is while you're in it.  I was floating on my back in the ocean, looking over to Diamond Head . . . and really, isn't that amazing? 

  • I had wanted to visit fancy restaurants and eat a ton of sushi but I realized while there that it was just as much fun to just hang loose and do whatever.  We had lunch from the beachside vendor one day and it was delish, food court another day, also delish.  And seriously, the prices in HI are so high that it was still more than we usually spend on lunch.

  • I got a new instrument!  A real ukelele is now here in my house and I LOVE it!  I haven't told many people about this yet but you can rest assured I'll be practicing all of my Christmas Carols for the season!  It's a real beauty!

  • Even a 14-hour day of travel through airports and planes is enjoyable when you're with someone who is easy to be with.  I even got sick on the plane on the way over and didn't feel stressed about it.  Figure that out!  I think my sickness was from something I had eaten and not from the motion, but who really knows.

  • The wedding on Magic Island beach, Diamond Head in the distance, sunset following, was really lovely.  I wish Kate and Annette all kinds of wonderful happiness and I'm really grateful that they were so gracious and welcoming to me, the newbie in the group.  We were the only people at the wedding who don't live in Alaska. . . except the officates.

  • Pearl Harbor and the memorials there were really moving.  I am so very glad we visited them.  We were even there on Veteran's Day, which seemed perfect. 

  • The Polynesian Cultural Center is fun but I probably don't ever need to go back.  It's very tourist-oriented and upon reflection I feel like they were constantly asking for us to spend more money.  Even the bus drivers there and back made pleas for tips.    Still, I did learn some things about island life and about Polynesia in particular.  Interesting but over-schilled.

  • I packed too many different outfits.  I wish I had purchased more stuff at the swap meet we went to on Saturday and I wish I was made of money so I could go back every year . . . or maybe even live there. 
  • My next travel goal is to visit a different tropical island.  I'm hooked!

Thursday, November 07, 2013


I'm looking for a job, right?  Yea, most of you . . . probably all of you know that.  I'm applying all over the place (all over tarnation, in fact) and I've had some good interviews.  I've done some skyping and some in-person interviews, I've been flown out, have driven for many miles, have looked at many libraries, and I've had some phone interviews.  I don't much like phone interviews. 

Nope, I don't like phone interviews.  Why?  Because you can't see their faces!  I can't tell if they're zoning out.  I can't tell if they're responding positively or negatively, I can't even tell if they're still in the room.  

Oh, and did I mention that there's always more than one person at the other end?  On the other side of the table, or in front of the other webcam or at the other end of the phone there are always several people.  Several voices . . . several personalities.

Oh yes, it's a joy!

Good thing I'm an extrovert!  I actually like panel interviews.  I like playing to a group.  The bigger the group the better, in my mind.  I used to REALLY LOVE doing storytimes at the Main Library in Columbus when there would be 80 children and caregivers . . . or puppet shows when over 100 people would fill the auditorium.  LOVE!

Hmm, I wonder if puppets would make these interviews better . . .

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Things I Don't Want to Forget

Just a list for now . . . maybe I'll write more after I've slept and maybe I won't.

Troy at Canfield Fair
  • I joined an online dating site on the day that would have been my 20th wedding anniversary (I said 19th but then came back and editted it to make it correct - oops).  I found it to be appropriate, somehow.
  • I dated a few different guys that were OK but not very interesting.  Only one guy got more than one date, and they were both boring.
  • I first met Troy face to face on Good Friday, March 29, 2013.  We'd been messaging and then emailing back and forth for a few days and we'd talked on the phone a few times, too.  We went to dinner and karaoke at Shamrocks Pub and Grub.  He liked my singing (among other things), I liked his wit (among other things).
  • I resigned from the library on May 15, 2013.  It was not a happy occassion.  One of the worst days of my life in some ways, but in other ways it was a ticket to freedom.
  • I'm very glad I no longer work for that library system, for multiple reasons.
  • My son is very, very far away at college now.  I took him out, with my mom, to Kansas City Art Institute and it was hard to leave him there but I know it's a wonderful time of life for him and I'm immensely proud of him for being so brave and talented.
  • I've been learning that when I get really blue I need to talk to other people and care more about them than I do myself.  Works every time to keep me from going crazy.
  • I am learning to care less than before about what people think about me and my decisions.
  • People are not looking at my house even though it's been on the market for 2 months.  Please, please let me sell this house before January!
  • I am so very lucky to have my parents, my wonderful, loving, generous parents who support, encourage and reach out to me when I feel like the whole world is caving in.
  • I am very lucky that Troy found me.  He's a really fun, kind, talented, smart man and it's so much FUN to hang out with him!
  • I'm starting to enjoy living alone. I am the master of my fate.  I am the captain of my soul.
  • I know that God is with me in this world, I don't understand his plans for me and I don't understand the world, but I know this to be true, that He loves me and that I was created to love.
    Si and Mom with loaded car

    Si at entrance sign to KCAI

Monday, November 04, 2013

My stuff!

I'm sure many of you remember George Carlin's bits about stuff.

I've been thinking about this for months! 

I've been thinking about this because I've been down-sizing my house, getting rid of stuff at a rapid pace.  It's been hard!  Well, some of it has been fairly easy because it was someone else's stuff (a.k.a. shit) and it is always much easier to get rid of other people's shit than it is to get rid of your own stuff. 

I've learned over the years that it's helpful to have a friend there because they're not emotionally attached to all of that shit that you have and they'll help you get rid of it.  I went to help my folks pack up their house last year, and I was supposed to be helpful in that capacity.  The problem?  Some of their shit was my stuff!  or it was stuff that was Grandma's, or stuff that I played with or loved as a child . . . and I can't let that stuff go to a rummage sale somewhere . . . can I?  So I brought boxes of stuff back home.

And then a few months later, as I started to clean out my own house to try to downsize I realized that I have way too many boxes of stuff.  So as I weeded through my stuff I added more packed boxes of treasure to the pile I started from Mom.  And now as I face moving to a small apartment, I'm thinking I'm going to have to go through those boxes and make some Very Hard Decisions.

But enough about that.  I'll think about that later.

What things do you have that you just can't bear to part with?  I talked about glasses yesterday, cheap printed glasses that I bought for less than a dollar over 30 years ago.  Silly, right?  I've gotten rid of the crystal I got as wedding gifts.  I've got crystal that was Grandma's in boxes in the basement.  Why am I using Snoopy glasses?  Because I like them.  Because they evoke fond memories (unlike the wedding glasses) and because it won't be devastating if I break one (like Grandma's stuff).

And those Santa mugs that I only will get out at Christmas?  No, I won't part with those.  I loved them as a child and I just can't bear to think that they wouldn't be in the family anymore.  Sigh. 


Sunday, November 03, 2013

Grown-up Part Deux

I've been packing my house for about 5 months.  Yes, I know that seems like an inordinately long time to pack a house, but the work has been done in spurts.  I can't just plow through a room and get it entirely done in one fell swoop (or, as my family says, one swell foop).  There has been too much stuff and sometimes too many memories.  I'm lucky, in a way, to have had this extra time to take my time going through things.  Well, I'm trying to look on the bright side, right?  I mean, it would have been nice to have gotten a new job right away, sold the house quickly and been packed and moved and settled somewhere by now . . . but that's not what happened so I'm making lemonade, you know?

So all these months I've had the constant question - should I keep this, sell it, trash it or give it away?  Thousands of times I've had to answer the same question about a knick knack, a keepsake, a childhood toy (bunny carts!) an antique, my yarn stash! 

I've gotten a lot done and the house is looking pretty good (wanna buy a house?).  But there have been some things I haven't even questioned.  This is where the Camp Snoopy and Muppet Caper glasses come into the conversation.  My sister was over yesterday and suggested that it's high time I got myself a set of grown-up glasses, the kind that all match and even match my dishes, the kind that don't (!) have Licensed Characters on them. 

"Whaaa???  But . . . but . . . I bought these when I was in High School . . . with my babysitting and clarinet lesson money!  I love these glasses!  They're heirlooms!"

"Weren't they basically freebies to advertise for the movies?  For kids?"

"Yes!  They're cool!"

She just shook her head, drank her juice from the sheep glass and came back in to continue playing Lego Batman with me on the Wii.  She's such a grown-up.


You all think they're cool too, right?  Right?

Saturday, November 02, 2013

On Being Grown-up

I am a whimsical person.  Yes, you who have known me all my life realize this.  I love children, I love child-like things such as puppets, singing, silliness, pranks that aren't mean-spirited, jokes of all kinds (especially puns!), children's books, children's movies . . . the list goes on and on!  In fact there are probably those among you who would postulate that aside from my vocabulary I have never really grown up.  That, also, is true.

I have, however, learned the value of personal responsibility.  Sometimes it is challenging to be the grown-up, but it usually brings great rewards.  Being accountable for the things that happen to you as well as around you without playing a blame game makes life much less dramatic and helps you feel better about yourself in the end.  These are solid middle-class values that have been ingrained in me since birth (thanks, Mom and Dad!)

So why don't more people have these values?  Why is it OK for people to throw trash out their car windows?  Why do people step over garbage on the sidewalk (in a park, in front of the Library) and not bend over and pick it up?  Why would someone decide that it's ok to move out of a house and leave all of their belongings there for someone else to deal with?  How does a person justify even small things like stepping in front of someone in a line for coffee?  What comes over people that they decide they are above the common rules of decency and accountability?

I've struggled to figure this out over the last few years and I've come to one very solid answer.  It doesn't matter.

Nope.  It just doesn't matter what their motivation (or lack of) is. 

What matters is how I respond.  What matters is what I am thinking and feeling in my own mind and heart. 

Am I being a decent person?  Am I working to be my best and allowing the work of judging others to fall to someone else?

Because at the end of the day . . . or even, dare I say, at the end of my walk on this earth . . . what will matter most will not be how often I found someone else to be lacking in accounability, but how often I showed mercy and compassion to everyone, regardless of how they acted.

So that is where I am today - back to where I really want to be - loving other people.

Friday, November 01, 2013

NaBloPoMo - National Blog Posting Month

Hello, strangers!  Welcome back to my blog!  My goal for the month is to write each day and share some thoughts about life, change, joy, trials and whatever else pops into my brain.  I'll try to keep it interesting, or at least a little entertaining.

I spent some time today with a friend that I've known for . . . hmm . . . maybe 2 years.  I knit with her nearly every week on Sunday afternoon and we've gotten to know one another a bit.  She had some surgery yesterday and needed a ride home today so I was there to be her chauffeur (chauffesse?). 

Hospitals being how they are (SLOW), we ended up spending about 5 hours together today.  We knit, we talked, we walked up and down the halls slowly.  It was pleasant to spend time with a friend this way, but one thing that she said has struck me and stuck with me.  She has been working on learning to just enjoy things how they are and not always have to be doing something.

Consider that for a moment.  When is the last time you just sat still not really doing anything in particular?  I don't do it very often, but I knew right away what she was getting at.  Most of the time I feel guilty if all I am doing is watching TV.  This is why I knit so much!  If my hands are busy creating something I don't feel like I'm wasting time.  Same with being outdoors.  In our busy lives, our busy world full of expectations, goals, drive and all those other good things I have often forgotten how to just BE.  Now, those of you who know me realize that I've had many times throughout my life when I've been forced to be sedentary.  Due to circumstances beyond my control I've had to heal from surgeries and heal and heal . . . more often than I'd like to admit.  Even during those times it has been hard to feel good about sitting still and being quiet. 

Today, though, when my friend mentioned it, I realized that quiet time, time of peace, reflection, solitude - those times are important.  I find myself currently in a situation where I spend more time idle than I prefer and now I am resolved to allow myself to revel in that quietude.  It can be a very good thing to be peaceful, to contemplate and examine one's life and to appreciate simply being there.

What do you think about this idea?