Saturday, October 31, 2009
Happy Halloween! It's been a pretty quiet one here on Milton Road. I think it's because we live at the end of a deadend street. This year all the kids on the street came down and it was fun to see all of their costumes. It's also been a bit of a bittersweet Halloween. For the first time Emma didn't want us to go trick-or-treating with her. She and her friend next door (who's 11 and in 6th grade) went together up and down our street by themselves, and now they are off trick-or-treating together with her Dad and step-brother in their neighborhood so Mom, Jim and I are home watching the Georgia Florida Football Game. It's a right of passage I guess -- the slow separation from us in bits and pieces. At least she still wanted to carve a pumpkin with me this morning. We each did part of it the carving, but the design is Emma's.
Here are the trick-or-treaters. Diana dressed up as Lily, Hannah Montana's best friend in the TV show, and Emma is Hermione from Harry Potter. That's my cape which is suppossed to be the academic robes they wear. She also made her hair wavy like Hermione's. I think she looks a bit like a Scotish warrior woman. She's wearing her kilt underneath too.
Finally, here's Chloe dressed for Halloween. She is sporting a lovely scarf, given to her by her Grandma Brenda. Thank you! She couldn't really have much fun because she was spayed on Thursday and is still resting up and not allowed to walk, run or rough house.
Hope you all had a great Halloween and next year I am going to find some little kids to go trick-or-treating with! I miss those little ones in costumes with big smiles on their faces. I can see that the Tween years are going to be a different challenge -- still fun in many ways -- just different.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Which leads me to another thought -- Silence -- definitely and endangered species in our society. I am beginning to really appreciate rainy and cloudy days. I can take my dog Chloe for a walk and we pretty much have the world to ourselves and a few other dog walkers. No being bothered by leaf blowers, lawn mowers, cars driving with windows down and stereos blaring, people riding bikes or walking and talking (to each other or on a cell phone), or wearing headphones with music leaking out. (Don't get me wrong I love sound, like children playing outside and bird singing etc... I just don't want it all the time)
Silence, the sound of nature.....
I admit I am more sensitive to noise and sound than the average person, but I do wish God had given us ear lids! People should be able to talk on the bus afterall and then I could turn them off.
[This post was inspired by a couple of recent bus rides. One day there was a woman talking very loudly on her cell phone for the whole 30 minute ride into Providence. I couldn't help overhearing the conversation which was all about her mental disability hearing and case!. The woman next to me said she had given up on reading her book because she couldn't concentrate! Today it was just two people talking in a loud animated way -- they were the only people talking and their voices were positively reverberating through the bus]
Thursday, October 22, 2009
1.) Outside my window ... I don't have a window in my cubby at work so can't answer that one, and yes I know I shouldn't be doing this at work, but am taking a mini break.
2.) I am thinking... about how incredibly tired I am and how annoying it is because I have things I want to do and be mentally present for.
3.) I am thankful for ... Jim, Emma and Chloe and for our house and jobs.
4.) I am wearing ... Black pants, green T-shirt, flowered cardigan.
5.) I am remembering ... trying to remember when I felt energetic.
6.) I am going ... to get back to work ordering some materials for the library
7.) I am reading ... Cross Bones by Kathy Reichs
8.) I am hoping ... a quiet day at work to catch up on some projects.
9.) On my mind ... figuring out something fun to do with Emma tomorrow night while Jim is still out of town
10.) Pondering these words ... "Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." ~Brian Andreas
11.) From the kitchen ... still thinking about the delicious fresh roasted asparagus I ate last night.
12.) Around the house ... constantly combating the junk that piles up inside the front door -- wish we had a mudroom.
13.) One of my favorite things ... right now I am thinking about a big cool glass of white wine (pinto grigio probably)
Monday, October 12, 2009
Things have been pretty busy around here. My mother-in-law Brenda just returned home to Florida this morning after spending a week with us. Emma turned 10 last Wednesday and we all had today off for Columbus Day.
I have been taking an online course in scrapbooking called Yesterday & Today by Ali Edwards and Big Picture Scrapbooking. This week was week 2 and we learned about scanning older photos to use in our scrapbooks. The task this week was to create a title page for the album we will be creating in the class. I spent this morning scanning some photos from an album my Mom gave me and some from old scrapbooks of mine from school and college, as well as some photos from the more recent pre-digital days. I then created my intro page using the photos and the template and word art that Ali Edwards created for the class. Here's how it turned out. I'm pretty happy about it. The paper choices are all mine as are the photos and the dates on the photos. It was fun reminiscing about the periods of the photos!
On Saturday we (Jim, Emma, me and Brenda (my mother-in-law) all headed out for the day. First we hit the American Girl Doll Store in Natick , Ma outside Boston. This was a birthday trip for Emma so she could spent some of her birthday money. We started out with brunch in the Bistro at the store. Emma brought her doll (all the girls do) and there was a special seat for the doll who also got her own mini-muffin. The brunch was actually really good and we had a window seat with a great view of the hills and the trees starting to change colors. After eating it was time to shop. Emma had a hard time deciding how to spend her money, but ended up getting another doll (her second). She choose Molly who is a historical character girl from 1944. She also had enough money to buy the Chrissa movie. Chrissa is this years American Girl Doll of the year and the movie is all about a 4th grader who moves and changes schools and is being bullied. While it's a bit heavy handed (for an adult -- Emma didn't seem to notice) it was a good movie with a good message. I am sad to say that Emma had a similar, though not as bad, problem with a group of girls her first year here in Barrington -- in second grade!
In the photo below you can see all the "loaner" dolls that are available for girls to eat in the bistro with if they don't already have there own. The store itself is brilliantly merchandised. It's worth a trip just to look at the displays showing all the dolls and their clothes and accessories, and for the historical dolls -- information about the time period they lived in. I found myself wanting to buy a doll for myself -- I am partial to Rebecca Rubin from 1914. I must say it makes me feel a bit old that there is a historical doll from 1974 (that doll is from my time period!).
After the American Girl Doll Store we headed off to Cambridge to tour the Longfellow House. We wound our way there past some of our old haunts from when we lived in Belmont -- including our old house. We never got to tour the Longfellow House when we lived there because it was closed for renovation. It's run by the National Park Service and the tour was terrific. The guide was really great really knew her stuff. I would recommend a visit! I may even have to read some Longfellow poems now. Jim is a huge fan of Longfellow and this is a place he's wanted to go for a long time.
Here are Emma, Jim and Brenda outside Longfellow's House on Brattle St. in Cambridge, Mass.
Next up was a trip into Harvard Square which was really busy with lots of people mulling around. It must have been parents weekend somewhere since there were lots of multigenerational groups. We looked around at the Coop Book Store and got some Harvard clothing (Emma wants to live in her flannel lounge pants she bought!). We also went in the Curious George Book store where Emma bought another cookbook -- I have hoping for more cooked dinners soon. We ended up at John Harvard's Pub for an early dinner and some yummy beer they brew themselves.
We were exhausted when we got back, and Chloe was glad to see us. My neighbor had come over to let her out and play with her a couple of times so she wasn't alone all day!
Sunday I was totally exhausted, but Jim, Emma and Brenda managed to find the energy to go to Newport, eat lunch and tour a mansion. I stayed home in my darkened bedroom and recuperated!
Now, onward to the work week.
Friday, October 9, 2009
The video for week 1 was fantastic, cathartic and thought provoking too. It was so comforting to know that many of us struggle with the same scrapbooking baggage and that we could all collectively throw that baggage out. It was really great to learn from reading the message boards and Tweets that many of us struggle with "thinking too much!" and with being too critical and judgmental of our work. Sometimes I think I am the only one who over thinks everything.
Task One: Use the space below to brainstorm stories you want to tell.
This one was pretty easy for me. I'd been thinking about this for a while and was one of the reasons I signed up for this class. I was liberated by not thinking at all about whether I had any photos to go with the story. I don't think I can write them all down on the blog, but here's a sample:
* How my husband and I met and fell in love Y
* The moment I realized that I really should become a Librarian Y
* My son Sam who was Stillborn a week before his due date. Y
* Profile of my best friends, or other important people throughout my life and why they were/are important to me. YT
* Falling "in love" for the first time (in 8th grade). Y
* All the places I have lived in my life (I've moved a lot) maybe some thought or memories of each? How moving around a lot impacted and shaped me. YT
* My dog when I was growing up, Christy, and all the secrets she knew. Y
* Top 10 (or other number) of most terrific things I have done or experienced in my life so far. YT
* Top 10 most difficult or challenging things I have done or experienced in my life so far. YT
* Why I love going to my book group once a month. T
* Things I have loved and love to do and why, ie: art museums, horseback riding, reading (getting lost in books), history, stories, flowers... YT
* My relationship with my Dad and how important it is to me/ what I've learned from him, what I get from him.... YT
* What surprised me the most when I became a Mom. YT
Task Two: Organize your stories into Yesterday & Today columns
This was pretty simple, though there were a few that spanned the two columns. I put Y or T or YT next to the stories above to show what columns they would fall in. I have more Y's than T's -- I think that's because I've been pretty good at telling the Today stories as they happen.
Task Three: Review Layouts/Mini-books/Projects I have created and list things I love and things I would change.
What was a pleasant surprise while doing this task was how happy I am with the vast majority of my pages even the ones I made when I was just starting out. I also like the same things in both paper and digital scrapbooking. Some of things that didn't work for me were things I tried to see if I would like them, or made at the CK conference to try a new technique. Also a revelation is how much I loved many of the pages I created from scratch without a template or sketch or layout to scrap lift. Maybe I just need more confidence in my design abilities!
Things I Love
* Using cut-ups, word stickers, words written on small tags/stickers placed beside or on photos or used as elements/borders
* Stamps: especially as a way to tie a mini book or layout together. I like to color them in or shade them or place them half on and half off or under photos and journaling.
*Hand drawn lines and dots and dashes: I like to use these around journaling or as a border
* Stitching (I am not a sewer so it's been fun to use these in digital scrapbooking)
* Velum: overlaying on photo or paper with journaling on it.
* Shading: to highlight letters or words in journaling -- use colored pencils in paper scrapping. (Want to learn how to do this in digital)
* 3D epoxy stickers, flair etc.. used sparingly
* Flowers as elements
* Rounded corners
* Including memorabilia on layouts
* Clusters of elements to accent pages
* Notebook and grid papers
* Photos, Papers, Elements grouped together in a shape or within a boundary
* Patterned papers (strips, squares, circles..)
* Clean, simple lines
* Journaling in columns
* Grungy edges
* Titles in two contrasting fonts, overlapping or in different orientations
* Elements or circles with text/word art inside.
* Tags and tabs
* Handwritten titles decorated with colored pencils, doodles etc...
* Matted photos
* Text on curved paths
* Alphas as elements
* White, light, chalky colors on dark backgrounds.
* Close-ups, still-life photos
What I would change
* Too many embellishments
* Pages that are too busy or fussy
* "Garish" color combinations that take attention away from photos and journaling
* Not leaving enough "white" space.
* Things too spread out on page, elements not connected/disjointed, lack of cohesion
* 3D flowers that look like fabric
* Chipboard (if there's too much)
* Too many swirls and frills
* Text that is hard to read
* Too much color contrast
That's about it, now on to week 2. The journey continues....
Sunday, October 4, 2009
We managed to get this terrific group shot of all the girls. The incentive for it was that one of Emma's birthday gifts was a picture frame which came with a permanent marker and was designed for all the girls to sign on the frame and a banner to write the occasion across the top. This was taken in our sunroom which was "the Barn" at Camp Milton. After opening presents the camp evening activity was held in the Barn: movie night. Everyone settled down and cuddled up on the couch and bean bag chairs to watch "Princess Protection Program" with Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez, two of disney channels teen stars.
Here's a photo of the two "camp counselors": Meghan and Sophie. Sophie's Mom is my personal trainer so since we see each other for an hour at least once a week we end up talking a lot about our kids, so I knew her daughter Sophie, who's in 8th grade, had been to a sleep away camp much like Chimney Corners Camp where Emma goes. She brought her friend Meghan who's also gone to Summer camp for several years. The camp counselors ran all the before dinner activities which included making bandanna bracelets, playing camp games, and storytelling. They were terrific and I think they made that part of the party work really well. The 9 and 10 year olds got to more or less get rid of the adults and hang out together. I got to sit in the living room and just check on things occasionally.
Emma wanted an ice cream cake so we got this Carvel cake from Stop and Shop. It already had Happy Birthday written on it and managed to write a decent looking Emma on it. It was delicious and perfect for the baking challenged (ie: Me)
After Evening activity all the girls headed to their cabins (in our finished basement) to get ready for bed and then Emma lead Cabin Chat before I went down to tell them it was lights out. Jim didn't have to go back down later so even if they weren't sleeping they were quiet.
Everyone was up again by 7:00 am so we had our breakfast buffet with yogurt, apples, bagels, cream cheese and fresh baked Cinnamon rolls (thank you Pillsbury). At Chimney Corners Camp they have Cinnamon rolls for special occasions like Mom's weekend.
After breakfast everyone got their stuff together and while we were waiting for parents they made tissue paper flowers -- again with Emma showing them how to do it (not me).
I can't believe Emma is almost 10. Her actual birthday is October 7th!!
Thursday, October 1, 2009
How I decided to become a librarian. So here's the story. I was in a doctors office waiting room one afternoon the year after I graduated from Lafayette College with a BA in History class of 1987. There was a girl there, about 9, who was reading one of my favorite books of all time "Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle so I asked how she was enjoying it. She said she loved it and I started telling her about other books she might like as well.
She then said to me in a very simple and straightforward way, "Are you a Librarian?"
I replied, "No, I'm not."
She answered, "Well, you should be!"
While I know it sounds cliched, that was the moment when it became clear to me that I should stop agonizing about what to do with my life and figure out how to get myself to grad school for a Library Science degree. It really was just that clear to me. I had been thinking about a career as a librarian, but didn't want to go to school again right after I finished my BA so I was worked as a management trainee at Citibank in Baltimore, Maryland. That was okay, but I didn't like the sales aspect -- or at least I didn't enjoy selling bank services and products. I did like the systems and behind the scenes processes though. I realized at that time that sales is involved in everything, but decided if that was the case I would like to "sell" something I believed in -- which is libraries, literacy and life long learning.
My first library school class. So, I got engaged at that time and my husband to be was an Ensign in the United States Navy so we had very little choice over where we would be stationed. Our first Summer was spent in Newport, Rhode Island and I took an Introduction to Library Science course at the University of Rhode Island to see if this was still something I wanted to pursue. I had a great Professor (Fay Zipkowitz) and the class was interesting, but the coolest thing I learned was that I was not the only girl who had arranged her books by subject and genre, cataloged them on index cards, and loaned them to her friends -- Prof. Zipkowitz confessed to having done the same thing -- I was not the (organizational) freak I thought I was!! -- or not the only one anyway.
My first library job. The next place we were stationed was Pascagoula, Mississippi which I considered to be the edge of the known universe, but which turned out to be an excellent place for me at that time and it's now a year I remember fondly. After I had been there for a month a position became available at as a library assistant at the Jackson County public library in the Moss Point branch. I got the job and spent that year happily working in the public library learning about libraries from the inside and loving (most of the time) working with the public. I was in charge of periodical check in, card filing, exhibits and general circulation desk duties. I read book reviews and could recommend books for purchase to the librarian -- she actually choose to involve us in this selection process because we were out front working with the patrons more than she was! Very enlightened I thought! Working at the Moss Point library cemented my desire to become a librarian.
Slight detour to get a Masters in History with an Internship in Archives and Special Collections. A year after moving to Mississippi we were transferred to Norfolk, Virginia where I decided to get a Masters in History at the College of William and Mary mostly because they had an paid Internship in Archives and Special Collections and they gave me a scholarship. Since there was no library school anywhere near this seemed like the best way to get be on the path to academic librarianship which is what I was thinking about doing. A lot of the job postings I was reading required a second Masters Degree other than the Library Degree, plus I was interested in Special Collections work. So, I spent a great year and a bit working in the archives and special collections departments in both the College of William and Mary library and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation library. This was another great learning experience, but after 3 years I still wasn't a librarian.
Getting to Library School finally. So my husband was due to be transferred again and had a little bit of leeway in where he might be sent so he requested a couple of postings in places near Library Schools. This was in 1991, well before there were any distance learning programs, so geographical proximity was important. He took a post in Newport, Rhode Island and I started library school at the University of Rhode Island in the Fall of 1991. My focus in library school was academic library reference, but I also loved my technical services and cataloging class and also took advanced cataloging, so I was open to technical services work as well, though I still preferred a research environment.
Technical Services Librarian. Rhode Island State Library (1993-1994) I graduated in 1993 when there weren't a lot of jobs, at least in New England, and I couldn't move at the time, so I really ended up taking the best position that was available. I enjoyed this job as it was challenging and I had responsibility for all technical services at this legislative library. I was one of only 4 librarians. I did not enjoy the state house politics however.
Catalog Librarian. Roger Williams University Law School Library. (1994-1997) While on a tour of this new library with other RI librarians they mentioned that they were still looking for a Catalog Librarian. The position as Catalog Librarian at a brand new law school library sounded very appealing to me, after all I had wanted to be in academia. I applied for the position and got it. So for three years I headed up their cataloging dept. which was just me and an assistant. I was encouraged to and did become active in the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL). I attended conferences, volunteered for committees, joined the Technical Services Special Interest Section (TS-SIS) and participated as a mentee and mentor. I really like being part of this smaller community of law librarians in both law firms, county law libraries and academic libraries. At this point I guess I had decided to become a Catalog Librarian because that's where my first jobs took me and because I like it too. I was also able to work some hours on the Reference Desk and have some student and faculty contact because this was a smaller school and library and we all took turns doing some reference desk hours. I find if I don't work at all with the public/patrons I start to forget why I am doing what I do behind the scenes and that I am working in a library.
Head of Copy Cataloging and Database Management. Harvard Law School Library. (1997-2001)
My husband got out of the Navy and went back to get a PhD at the in Boston at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. I was all set to keep working in Rhode Island while he stayed in Boston during the week and came home at weekends. It turned out we both hated it even though we'd spent plenty of time apart while he was on sea duty in the Navy. So, I started looking for a position in the Boston area. I was pretty picky, because I didn't need a job, so I just applied for things that would be good or at least interesting career moves. I thought the position above sounded challenging and interesting, and a good fit for me, so I applied for it, got an interview and accepted it. (Events listed in the previous sentence took over 6 months to happen in real life -- slow hiring processes in academic libraries). This position was a great chance to work at a top notch, large research library, and to learn law cataloging from some of the best catalogers in the "business". I also gained supervisory experience as I was in charge of the copy cataloging unit of 4 paraprofessionals. I remained active professionally and coordinated a program at the AALL conference in 1997. There were only two things missing from this position: I wanted to be more involved with the management and decision making in the library -- and we wanted to be able to afford to buy a house since we had just had a baby. Boston housing prices were (still are) incredibly high so when I saw a job add for Cataloging Services Librarian at the University of Georgia Law Library I decided to apply. My husband figured he could write his dissertation just as well there.
Cataloging Services Librarian. University of Georgia Law Library. (2001-2007)
So, we bravely packed up everything we owned and moved a thousand miles away to Athens, Georgia. And, Yes, we did buy our first house! My husband stayed home with our toddler and wrote his dissertation and I actually supported the family as a librarian! I digress, this was and still is the best position I have ever had. It was indeed challenging. As a smaller library I was involved in management decisions for the whole library as part of the management team (Steering Group). They were just setting up this team system when I arrived so I also got to be involved in it's creation and ongoing development. I was also in charge of the cataloging department, including one professional catalog librarian and three paraprofessionals. This was a real challenge as the former catalog librarian had been there for 30 years or so and the department's practices and processes all needed to be examined and modernized. (They were still typing cards and pockets in 2001). We switched to printing labels for the cards and pockets from the online system right away, and the library implemented online circulation a year later. I had great co-workers here and we really ran the library in a collaborative way. I had the opportunity to lead the Library Systems team and make policy decisions regarding our Innovative Millennium system. I also worked at the Reference Desk and taught an annual CLE on Internet Legal Research to lawyers in the Atlanta area along with my co-workers. Thanks for my contacts at AALL I was asked to teach at the AALL/TS-SIS Intermediate Legal Cataloging Workshop in 2002 and to speak at a program in 2001. Athens also turned out to be a terrific place to live -- love those small college towns. But my husband finished his PhD and was working at a think tank at the University of Georgia as a researcher, but was looking for a teaching job. Enter reality in the form of his dream job in Newport, Rhode Island as a Professor at the Naval War College, and I had to leave my great position at UGA Law.
Librarian. Partridge Snow & Hahn, LLP. (2007-present)
And enter the world of law firm librarianship. Here's an interesting anecdote. It appears to be much easier to move around within the world of law librarianship than it is within the world of academic librarianship. My former position at UGA Law Library had more in common with similar positions at "regular" academic and research libraries, but I have not been able to even get an interview for any of these positions. (Any ideas from academic librarians as to why this is so please leave me a comment.) The only differences I can see is that our collections in law libraries are more narrowly focused, law school libraries are smaller than many academic libraries, but then the cataloging rules and practices are the same. In fact law cataloging is harder than most other disciplines (except music). So, here I am at a Law Firm library for which I was arguably less qualified than the aforementioned academic/research technical services positions. I say was because I have been here over two years now and have really learned tons about law firm librarianship, legal research, more about legal and business research tools than I ever did before, and about budgeting. Maybe I shouldn't confess in public that I wasn't sure I knew what I was doing when I took the job. Thanks to former colleagues at UGA and in AALL, other firm librarians in Providence, and also the Private Law Libraries Special Interest Section I am up to speed here. I have a new found respect for my Acquisitions Librarian friends particularly. And, I do know legal resources pretty well -- we also get a lot of business research requests which was news to me. I have also had the pleasure of supervising and mentoring two library assistants who were also University of Rhode Island Library School students.
Independent Contractor. Cassidy Cataloging Services (1996-1997; 2007-2009)
Along the way I have worked on two projects for Cassidy Cataloging as a contract cataloger. The first one was re-classing the collection at Yale Law Library from their own classification to the Library of Congress classification. This was a great experience in really getting into and learning this classification system. More recently I worked cataloging online databases available through Lexis and Westlaw. I mainly did so to keep up my cataloging skills and remain marketable in that area too -- though I also really like cataloging.
So, that's my journey so far. As you can see I am certainly not working as the type of librarian that the 9 year old in the doctor's office anticipated, but it has been a fun ride. I look forward to reading what others have to say in their posts. Hope you enjoyed mine. Feel free to leave comments/questions.