Thursday, December 22, 2005

My new job

I'm employed. That's the big news I wanted to post about a while back. I waited until the negotations were done. Now that I've officially accepted, I'm pleased to report that I will be the English Reference Librarian at a medium-sized public university in the west. I got a really good feeling about the libraries at the university. The librarians seem like a smart, interesting bunch and appear to genuinely get along. This bodes well.

More soon. Have a great holiday, if you celebrate one around this time!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

to be continued...

I have new developments in my professional life. It's too soon to post, but I'll be sure to do so as soon as anything's official.

It's hard to be happy for myself when my family is having such a rough time. I found out last night that my brother and sister-in-law lost their baby. They wanted this child more than anything; we all did. As the oldest, I've always been able to take care of my family, especially my little brother. This time I'm pretty powerless.

I might not be online much for the next several days, but will get back to posting when things settle a little.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Interview fatigue

My interview last week went really well. Everything looks good. I like the sound of the position and responsibilities, the people seem great and are of varying ages and experiences, the facility is nice and has the potential to be really great, there are plans for all sorts of exciting projects and initiatives, the dean actively supports professional development and provides good funding for travel, and the state seems to support the university and is committed to increasing salaries and funding for resources. The location is the only thing giving me pause. It would be expensive to fly home for visits and it's a three-hour drive to the nearest big city. The roads can also become impassible in the winters. If I get an offer, I have a lot to consider. I also have a number of other interviews on the horizon.

Anybody who has gone through the academic job search wringer knows how tiring, labor-intensive, and frustrating it is. Well-meaning friends and family constantly ask if I've heard from University X, no matter how many times I try to explain the peculiarities of the academy and its complicated hiring processes. They don't seem to believe me that an application might not be acknowledged for 4-6 weeks (if at all) and that I really do get calls for interviews months after a search closes. It does no good to try to describe the committee process and the prep time needed for all-day interviews with a dozen or more scheduled meetings and activities. To my non-librarian peeps, it doesn't make any sense.

After several months of feeling like I was shouting into the void, I started getting a lot of response to my applications. Lately I've been wondering if I haven't applied to too many positions. In addition to the couple of on-campus interviews I've been lucky enough to get, I've done an average of one phone interview every ten days or so for the past couple of months. The whole thing's starting to wear on me. While I'm seasoned enough to answer most general questions about my work experience, teaching philosophy, reasearch interests, and the like, I still have to put some work into prepping for each interview. Before applying for a position, I reasearch the libraries--their missions, instruction program structures, new campus initiatives, etc. Before an interview, I have to review all that and prepare my questions accordingly. While I'm grateful for the interest I'm getting, I need a break.

Of course, I have another telephone interview tomorrow, for an instruction position at a university a few hours away from the one I visited last week. I also have an on-campus interview in the southwest in a few weeks. The position I'm especially interested in doesn't close until early January, so I might have to make a decision on something else before even finding out if I get an interview.

The upshot is that I'm really looking forward to this part of my life to be over for a while. I start my part-time community college reference gig tomorrow, too. Maybe that will be fodder for some more interesting posts.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

New post soon

I've been slammed lately, getting ready for my interview and then going on the trip. I got home this evening and will fill in some details soon. Right now I desperately need some sleep.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Packrat Fever

It's been a while since my last move, and it seems I have a lot of crap I don't really need and most of it's heavy. My affinity for 1950s diner china means I have many heavy dishpacks in addition to the several large boxes of fun kitchen implements cluttering up the basement. Potato ricer? Check. Six different kinds of whisks? Check. Carmelizing torch? check. Asparagus pot? Check. Frying pan? Of course not.

Here's my really shocking librarian confession: I have too many books. I've boxed eight cartons so far and am only halfway done, not even counting oversized art books and mass market paperbacks. This is after selling a couple hundred recently. Don't get me started on fifteen or so years worth of CDs. You might think I don't need two copies of Black Celebration, but you'd be wrong. I wore out three tapes back in the day.

I'll be spending part of the long weekend sorting and packing, trying to weed out things I can live without. Other plans include Thanksgiving hosted by my brother and sister-in-law, waiting for friends to cross the finish line at the marathon, and preparing my interview presentation. Have an nice holiday, whatever your plans.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The M-word

All the recent talk about "millenials" is starting to work my nerves. Libraries, and higher ed in general, are buying into the idea that high school and (traditional) college aged students are really tech savvy and will demand the latest bleeding edge stuff. "Boomers, Gen-Xers, and Millennials: Understanding the "New Students," (Oblinger, 2003) seems to be the article a lot of people point to when generalizing about the so-called millenials. The article is interesting, and was an early description of changes in the culture of new college students. The problem I have is that it is often used as evidence to make sweeping generalizations that don't hold true, at least not yet.

My evidence is anecdotal and therefore suspect, of course. Working at an academic library that serves a nontraditional student body as well as a more traditional-age college student body, I can't say I agree that younger students are more comfortable with technology or have shorter attention spans than Gen-X or Boomer students. It's just so individual. Many middle-aged students have been using computers in the workplace for years and transfer their skills pretty easily. At the same time, I have plenty of late-teens/early twenties students admit to feeling overwhelmed and uncomfortable with computers. The way to help students at all levels of experience with college and technology is to assess their needs and abilities and help them at their individual level. The ability to make good analagies and use metaphor to explain the research process and context helps a ton, too.

I guess the point of this rant is that listening to librarians describe young people as if they are all one monolithic group just turns me off. It's essential to keep up with new trends and deliver services that meet the ever-changing needs of our users, but we can't forget that users are a diverse bunch and don't all want or need the same things. Besides, just because some users want MTV-style editing in their entertainment, doesn't mean they want it in a BI session. Okay, rant over.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Quick update

An offer has been tendered and accepted, so if the house passes inspection, we have a deal. My parents are scrambling to find a house to buy. Three bedroom ramblers with nice-sized yards and a family room that aren't giant crapheaps are pretty hard to find We're going to look at a promising place tomorrow, though. I'm sure something will work out. In any case, we're hiring movers. I wasn't looking forward to trying to carrying furniture around in December.

In other news, I have an on-campus interview in the Rockies in early December. I'm just waiting to get the particulars on the flights/hotel and guidelines for the presentation. I've also secured another part-time job for December and January. It's at the university where I currently work. I'll still work in academic services, but not in the library. I don't have all the details yet, but it is learning outcomes and assessment related, and that's one of my research and professional interests. So, things look good.

My new obsession

I'm a big nerd and can't stop configuring my browser. Meredith of Information Wants to be Free recently gave a rundown of new social software applications. Thanks to her, I've been trying them out. My favorite is blummy - The bookmarklet management bookmarklet. I had run out of room in my toolbar for bookmarklets and this solves my problem. Now I'll just keep adding more, of course.

Filed in:

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Blogging librarians map

If you are a librarian who blogs, you can add yourself to a new map called Frappr! It looks like the vast majority of participants are east of the Rockies. Let's PNW this thing (TM SJ, sorta).

Rushing around

It gets old to talk about how busy we all are, but that's what I'm about to do. It's been an especially crazy week, which has kept me away from the blog. My parents put their house on the market a week ago, and the whole thing has kept us all hopping. Between helping keep the place ready to show and wrangling the dogs, I haven't had a lot of time to think. The good news is that there are several offers on the table, so this won't last too much longer. The bad news is that we'll be packing up and moving over Christmas.

They're looking to buy a one-story house, so I will lose my little basement apartment. It doesn't make sense to get a place on my own for the short term while I'm applying for positions out of state, but it will be weird to completely share living space with my parents again. I sure have gotten used to having three rooms to myself and it will be hard to have my furniture and other stuff in storage and move into just a bedroom. Still, I have a good deal on rent and get to keep living with the dogs.

There are several things I'd like to have written about lately. Unfortunately, I think of them at work--which has also been really busy--and then don't have time or am too tired by the time I get home, eat dinner, and finish more housework. I owe my friends more attention than I've been giving them, which feels bad. I definitely need to call my friend Karen, but the evenings keep getting away from me. It sucks to feel like a bad friend.

One piece of good news is that it looks like I've secured my temporary position for winter quarter. I'll be working part-time reference at a local-ish community college. The commute isn't great, but I can do it for a while. So far, I only have one shift lined up for December, but I'll have three days a week starting in January. I'm also on the substitute list at a couple of other C.C.s, so that will do for now. It might be nice to have some time off next month, especially with the impending move and (cross your fingers) possible out of state on-campus interviews for a few university jobs I've already done phone interviews for. I have a bunch of letters for more applications just about ready to go, too. Whew.

I'm about to go half-time at my current position. Of that 20 hours a week, eight are on the reference desk and two to three are unit meetings. I'm working on three different bibliographies, two updates and one new one; a couple of web pages; a short presentation on blogs and RSS, which also needs a webliography; and helping with some collections budget calculations. There are a few more things I'm forgetting right now, like the reports I need to make on the bibs. I know I'll get it all done, but I don't know how. I've tried to avoid committing to more than I can deliver by the end of the month, but the small projects seem to be adding up to more work and time than a couple of bigger things. I'm not complaining--I'll miss doing these things when I'm mostly working reference for a while.

I better get to bed. This is the first time I've opened the laptop in the evening for a while, which is probably why I'm still up after midnight. Cutting down on connecting to the internets and watching television, as well as cutting out most caffiene has helped my insomnia a little. Being bone tired helps me get to bed around 10:00, too.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Today in reference

I worked the desk today. The librarians here use a sign-up sheet to divvy up the weekends; each of us usually ends up with two per quarter--not bad. During the week, we each work about four two-hour shifts and spend the rest of our time on the million other things we do. Working on the desk for eight hours is such a change of pace and is kind of refreshing. I have a lot of respect for public librarians, many of whom work eight hours of public service every day and do all their collection development and programming prep between patrons. And they have to be ready to answer just about any kind of question imaginable and be able to do reader's advisory. That's pretty impressive, both in terms of skills and stamina. Reference is physically and mentally exhausting and I don't know that I could do it all day, every day. I like the mix of public service, collaborating with colleagues, and working on my own. That's not to say that helping people isn't fun when I'm doing it, though. Here's a little taste of what people wanted to do today:

find statistics on which countries have highest number of scientists and engineers
crop and resize images
create PowerPoint presenation
find morbidity rates for children with severe illnesses and disabilities
format APA citations
double space text in MS Word
find origin of American folktales
find image of Barry Diller
distinguish between newspaper and journal articles
figure out what a database is
scan a photo
find copier/ATM/bathroom/printer/nearest coffee/etc
see when a file was created
find books on religion
read an LC call number
read online news in spanish
check out laptops
put a book on hold/renew books
make and publish a webpage
attach a document to an email message
find salary info on business executives
which nearby libraries own the print journal Columbia,
find course e-reserves
save documents to CD-R
empty (computer) recycle bin
make a hanging indent
find info on healthcare and ethnolinguistic communities
make a graph in Excel
find opposing viewpoints on United Nations peacekeeping missions

There were plenty of other requests, but I won't bore you with the details. It was a busy day that just flew by. Saturdays tend to be slower than Sundays, when we're open a little later in the evening. Midterms seem to have increased demand.

In work-related news, it looks like I'll start a new temporary job right as my current one ends. I'm in the middle of interviews and more applications for permanent position, so this should fill the gap nicely. More details when I have them.

ACRL WA/OR Conference recap

Blogging didn't happen during the conference. I brought my laptop, but decided not to bring it to the sessions when I realized that nobody else was using one and that the tight schedule wouldn't really give me time to upload anything.

The conference was great! We stayed at Pack Forest, so it was like going to librarian camp. Yes, I mean that in a good way. My idea of professional dress is fairly casual, but I don't usually wear jeans and sneakers to conferences. I was in a cabin, so we had to walk a short distance to the bathrooms. Luckily, one of the sponsors provided mini-flashlights, which was helpful because I didn't think to bring one.

I enjoyed ACRL National this year, but the local meeting was centered on topics that I found more immediately useful and relevant to my interests and the work we do at MPOW. I found it difficult to choose between the sessions because all of them sounded good. Sessions I attended:

1.Mine, Yours, Ours: Collaborating in a Combined Library/Computing Lab
Kathleen Collins and Damien Koemans
University of Washington, Seattle

It was hard to choose between the two programs in this time slot. I wanted to go to the other session in this time slot because it was on information literacy instruction and articulation between two and four-year colleges, and because my supervisor was on the panel. I'm glad I chose to come to this one though, because it gave me the chance to learn more about another library in my own larger system. In a three-campus university with a 21 branch library, it's really hard to get a handle on what's going on in other units, especially when, like me, you work outside the "main" campus.

The presentation described the way the undergraduate library hosts a huge computing lab run by a separate campus department and how the two units cooperate to serve the students. The most interesting part for me was the discussion about the differences in the cultures of the library staff and the Catalyst staff, who are mostly students. The presenters gave tips on managing communication between departments to facilitate understanding of the differing perspectives on either side, and most importantly, emphasized that the students don't care about departmental differences and don't see the difference between library help and computing help. The best point Kathleen made was that we have to remember that we are all serving the same students and that we need to meet them at the point of need. The library moved the reference desk up to the second floor computing commons because that's where the students work. It was a good reminder that we can have the best resources and services, but students will only use them if it's visible and convenient.

2. Tale of Two Classes: Taking Different Paths to a Common Goal
Theresa Mudrock
University of Washington, Seattle
Heather Ward
University of Oregon

This session gets my vote for the best of the conference. My primary interest is instruction, so I'm biased, but I really like hearing about innovative assignments. Both presenters are history liaisons and each described really cool research courses they've taught. They both made me wish I was a student in their classes. What made these courses fun for students and helped them learn was that the assignments were meaningful. They showed students the value of researching and gave the experience problem-solving and understanding the context behind the research process. Both courses used primary documents, which can be so much more interesting and even fun for students than dry, scholarly articles. Both Theresa and Heather linked artifacts and information to the people who created and were documented by those resources. Very cool.

3. Building for the First Two Years – What Are Hallmarks of Collections for First and Second Year College Students?
Natalie Delker Beach
University of Washington Bothell & Cascadia Community College
Jennifer Sundheim
University of Washington, Tacoma

Because this conference is attended by librarians from both two-year and four-year colleges and universities, it is a great place to come together to talk about the first two years of college and how all of us work to support the learning that happens during this time. First, the presenters gave an overview of collections literature centered on undergraduate libraries, because that's where most of the work is coming from. They pointed out that there is a great potential for community college librarians to contribute their expertise by writing about their collections philosophies and practices. What the existing lit shows is that while a few core lists have been created and maintained, libraries aren't adhering to these in practice. In my opinion, this is a good thing. We should be building the best collection for the local population, rather than trying to use a one-size-fits-all approach. It seems that librarians are doing this very thing: building collections to meet local need.

I liked that this session was all about asking questions, rather than offering an answer. Jennifer and Natalie were really interested in stimilating discussion and getting feedback on what others think about collecting for lower-division. The discussion that followed the presentation was just starting to get good when we ran out of time. I noticed a nice mix of university and community college librarians in the crowd. This would be a great topic to come back to and revisit on a variety of forums.

4.The Collaborative Environment: Successful Librarian-Faculty Partnership at Western Washington University Library
Cecilia Siu-Wah Poon
Margaret Fast
Dr. Keith Hyatt
Western Washington University

This session was up against another on Millenials. Since I've done a lot of reading on the subject and because most of my coworkers were going to that session, I thought I'd hit this one so we can compare notes later. Besides, as a newer librarian I've learned that it takes time and a lot of effort to develop strong professional relationships with faculty.

The presentation highlighted a wide variety of ways librarians at the Woodring library work with the faculty in their departments. It was nice to see that many of the strategies presented--serving on campus-wide or departmental committees, offering faculty workshops, attending faculty social events--are some of the things we do on our campus. Woodring also has a pool of collections money for special projects. It's a competitive pool; librarians submit proposals to improve specific parts of the collection and they get faculty imput and support for the purchases. This is just one of the ways their librarians have worked with faculty and it's a creative incentive for faculty to get involved in collection development.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

ACRL WA/OR conference

I'll be at the conference today and tomorrow and will blog it if I can.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Near miss

As I walked to my car this morning, something didn't feel right. Looking down, I realized that each of my feet was shod in a different shoe! I guess I didn't notice because both pairs are black Dansko clogs that sit side by side on my closet floor. The problem is that one is a sandal and the other is a shoe. I'm a nerd.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Lunch and Lush

I went to the outrageous yuppie mall yesterday with my friend SJ and her two daughters. I was going to bust her with a funny story, but she totally beat me to the punch, AS USUAL.

Anyway, I had a nice time shopping at the new Lush (my score: Mirror Mirror, Angels on Bare Skin, Veganese, Hybrid, and 17 Cherry Tree Lane--all great). It's kind of weird to be able to shop there so close to home. Lush used to be a destination on trips--I made a point to stop there in Vancouver, San Francisco, Stockholm--but the loss of specialness is more than made up for by the convenience of a semi-local store. Now I can get the fresh stuff, too.

One of the highlights of the afternoon was our lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. Now, I know that portions there are huge, but I was shocked when my chicken pot pie arrived at the table. The lovely and talented SJ is holding a fork to show the scale here. I finished a quarter of this pie and was stuffed. Mmmm, pot pie.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Art on a Monday evening

A Calder, just for you. Why? Well, why not?

6 of one...

On one hand, I feel like death warmed over--Fall is lousy with germs. On the other hand, I have two phone interviews scheduled this week, both for positions I'm very interested in. So my life could be worse.

I'm going to bed early so I can get some work done before the ACRL blogging webcast tomorrow morning. I didn't see this the first time around, so I'm looking forward to it. In fact, I think I'm more interested in what people blog about it afterwards. Who knows, maybe MPOW will decide to launch a blog.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

I yearn to travel

Another post to make up for my recent silence. I try to resist jumping on the bandwagon with these quiz/name or lyric generator/map things, but sometimes I give in.

I'm not as well-travelled as I could be, unfortunately. I don't count places I've only been to because of an airport layover, like Colorado, Texas, Utah, Illinois, and the Netherlands. I'd definitely like to see more of my own country. I have the west coast covered, have visited the southeast and parts of the midwest, but the northeast and mid-atlantic get no love. It's not on purpose, dudes.

create your own visited states map

create your own visited countries map

Also, I've been fiddling with my template to make the page look less crowded. If anything goes haywire, let me know. It looks fine to me in IE and Firefox.

My city

The Emerald City

Welcome to Scandiland

I went to the Scandinavian Heritage Festival last weekend with my parents, my SIL, and a family friend. Like many Scandinavian-American events I've been to, the whole thing had a distinctly church basement aesthetic. In other words, I loved it. Check out my lunch:

After my köttbullar and pannkakor, we wandered through the vendors. I managed to avoid buying the beautiful Danish jewellery and the little wooden tomte, but this sweatshirt came home with me. Oktoberfest was also happening on the fairgrounds, so I leave you with some mechanical polka dancers.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Tante Kaijsa

Hey, I'm going to be an aunt! My brother called a couple of days ago with the news. My parents always say they aren't ready to be grandparents yet, but they've changed their tune. They're already Farmor and Farfar, and the baby isn't due until spring. It's sweet. I'm sure I'll be knitting plenty of tiny things this winter. Maybe I'll try that owl sweater I've been thinking about. I promise this won't turn into a knitting blog, but I might post some pictures of projects. Hey, little clothes are cute.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

My temporary job was set to end on Friday, but I just got the final okay for a two-month extension. This final extension--it's the third--will just bring me to one year of service here, which is somehow more satisfying than ten months. I guess the round number looks better on my documentation, too. So, more teaching and projects await!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

My project is finished! The presentation went well and I got the impression the clients were pleased with the report. I wish I could talk more about what I did, but it needs to stay in-house at the client organization for the forseeable future. I don't know that I ever want to do consulting on a full-time basis, but it was great experience. It's nice to have the chance to do some real hands-on research and in-depth analysis. I haven't written anything really meaty since I graduated and it was good to exercise that part of my brain for an extended period of time.

It feels weird but nice to be back on the reference desk and picking up new, smaller-scale projects. I spent this past two months working mostly on my own. I still had my office and went to meetings when I could, but with the time I spent on other campuses and holed away crunching numbers and writing, I was alone a lot. I'm looking forward to working in a team again. It's also exciting to see students on campus again. As it's the first week of school, I mostly spent my first reference shift of the quarter linking barcodes and giving directions, but it was fun and relaxed. Back to the routine!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

I'm spending the weekend in my office, editing madly to finish the report for a project I've been working on for the past couple of months. I present my findings in the morning and then I'm done. The project has taught me a lot about parts of library operations I hadn't before thought much about and given me some new perspectives on collection management. That said, I'm glad to finish and move on to something new.

In other news, I caught the Library Thing bug. Check the right sidebar to see the latest books I've added. In just over a week I've added more than 200 books from my personal collection. One thing I wish I could do is list my catalog in LC call number order. I know it's one of the tables, but I haven't figured out how to display the tables differently. In any case, I'm obsessed with adding books and finding out how many other users have books in common with me.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Insomnia is driving me nuts. It's so hard to get my mind to stop racing. What's worse, on the rare nights I start to drift off to sleep, I get restless legs and/or foot and leg cramps. Getting up and walking around helps with the cramps but does nothing to make me sleepy. The other night, I was so happy to fall asleep at 10:00pm but was wide awake again before 4:00am. Sucks, man. I hate being a complainer, too. This post is making me crankier.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I don't post about job hunting all the time, but it's a constant activity. Postings for the kinds of positions I'm interested in have been scarce lately, but I did send out a batch of applications last week. It's amazing how few acknowledgements I've gotten for the number of positions I've applied for. With one exception, I've gotten at least a phone interview at every library I received acknowledgement letters or emails from. Some places don't even send rejection letters when the search concludes. It can be discouraging, for sure.

This stuff is on lots of our minds right now. Not 24 hours after I posted the article below, a former MLIS classmate of mine called me at work to ask how I landed an academic job so soon after we graduated and to get some advice on her own difficult search. I was sorry I had to tell her that my job is temporary and is over at the end of the month. Which is next week--yikes. We talked about how for the first six months or so after graduation, it was embarrassing to admit not having a job, but now we realize how common an experience it is.

Most of my friends from school have struggled and I only know of a few people who have secured permanent positions in the industry. These are smart, capable people who have solid library experience, but it just hasn't worked out for them yet. It took me five months to land a temporary job and I firmly believe that mine was a case of being in the right place at the right time. It's not news that the job market for librarians is rough here.There are many complicating factors besides low librarian job turnover. The cost of living is outrageous and commuting between several part-time gigs is hard to do in our traffic. I'm pretty committed to looking out of state; not everybody has the ability to move.

There are many variables in the job search. A library director I really admire recently offered me part-time, temporary work, but she needed somebody before my current full-time job ended. I would have loved to have worked for her and at her college, but it just didn't work out. Something will stick one of these days.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Check out this great post by Meredith Farkas at Information Wants to Be Free. It really sums up the difficulty of finding that post-MLIS job.

Friday, September 16, 2005

I've been a long time gone. I have lots of reasons but no excuses. So, Gentle Reader, the last time we met I was about to enjoy me some Bumbershoot. I sure did. Sunday started out well. Melanie and I walked down from her place in the beautiful sunshine. We ran into a friend of hers and went to catch Math & Physics Club. We wanted to avoid the crush by hanging in the beer garden, which wasn't open yet. Then yours truly had the genius idea of hitting the Liquid Lounge, adjacent. I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a whisky at noon, but it was nice. Next on the list was the John Wesley Harding and Friends thing, Songs of Misfortune, at Bagley Wright. I admit I was skeptical about the concept--a performance of folk songs from JWH's novel about an orphan boy baby raised by a rich man as a girl--but it was fantastic. Robyn Hitchcock was the narrator! Kurt Bloch and Mike Musburger played in the band! So awesome. Anyway, we came out of the theater in the early evening and it had rained. The sky was grey and ominous.

Now, don't get me wrong--I looooooove the rain. I get cranky when it gets above about 75 around here. But I do not love the rain when I'm dressed in all natural fibers and plan to stand outside to watch the Posies. "Good thing we were inside during the rain," I said smugly to Melanie. Ah, hubris. Not twenty minutes later, we looked like this:

The latest in Seattle style. I particularly like the way the wind is blowing up the trash bags so we are twice our normal sizes. We were not alone.

But it was all worth it. The Posies were off the hook, y'all. Check out Ken's special raingear:

I leave you with one of my favorite things in the world. I can't walk past one of these things without posing for a picture.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

I haven't had much to post lately. The news has captivated me and I've been finding it hard to concentrate on work.

Bumbershoot opened yesterday, and I went down with M. to see some friends play an early evening set. I haven't seen them in a while, so it was fun to catch up a bit. I'm skipping B'shoot today but will be back Sunday to check out Flatstock and see Math and Physics Club, John Wesley Harding, the Posies, and Elvis Costello. If I have any energy left on Monday, I'll try to see Buttrock Suites and Tegan and Sara.

I'm sure the crowds and the insane crowd management strategy of making people walk all over hell's half acre will drive me mad, but I keep coming back, year after year. The price is outrageous, though. It was $6/day in 1993 and it's $28/day in 2005. I wish my income would inflate at that rate!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A week ago today, I left New Orleans. I had been interviewing for a job at a university on the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain, which we all know has flooded the city. I remember thinking as I was driven to the airport that I regretted not having the time to take any photos while I was there and that if I got the job, I'd take some when I came back to find a place to live. Now nobody has a place to live. Everything has been destroyed. I hope the people I met at UNO last week are safe.

Being there so recently makes this whole thing so strange. The smell and heat of the city are fresh in my mind and I can only imagine how hard it is to survive there without electricity or shelter. The only thing I could think of to help those affected was to donate to the American Red Cross. They take donations as small as $5.00 and need all the help they can get.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

I'll be near Portland for a wedding this weekend. August is the month I associate with large gatherings, more than any other. I can remember at least five funerals, three weddings, and too many family reunions to count during Augusts. Lots of people I know have August birthdays, too. My dad's was yesterday.

This time of year is strange, especially in the Northwest. We finally get warm, sunny weather, but it's time to finish the vacation and start looking ahead. Kids are buying school clothes, the wool pants and cashmere sweaters are out in stores, and all of us university types are preparing for the students to return. I always feel a bit wistful in August, especially as it comes to a close. It's a month of endings and unrealized potential. But it also means that fall is coming. Fall is beautiful and colorful, calm and mild, and full of my favorite things: foggy mornings, sweaters, steamy coffehouse windows, hats and scarves, and lots of rain. Fall is a new school year, the start of the holiday season, and the promise of new beginnings.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Since I've been home I've been focusing on my assessment project. It's coming down to the last couple of weeks of work and I have to make every moment count. I guess I'll be working next weekend to make sure taking time off this this week didn't set me back. I have to present my findings on September 12 and I want to make sure my numbers are crunched correctly and I've made my recommendations and the reasoning behind them clear in the report. Things are starting time come together, especially the quantitative parts. I'm conducting three interviews next week, which should just about complete the qualitative data gathering and give me what I need make my case. Research is fun.

Monday, August 22, 2005

It's 10:12 here, so I should try to get some rest in a minute or two. I just spent the last hour tweaking my presentation a bit. I had dinner with two of the search committee members, so I've already talked about some of the stuff that I'll be covering tomorrow, but that can't be helped. Conversation happens organically, I suppose.
The list of things I forgot to pack continues. I had to buy the ethernet cable from the mini-bar for $11.95+tax. Then I realized I didn't pack my deoderant, so I paid $6.50 for a yucky roll-on at the hotel gift shop. If I wasn't due to dinner fifteen minutes after I figured out my mistake, I might have found a pharmacy. Lastly, I did not bring a comb. How dumb am I?

Pretty dumb, judging from my biggest mistake of the day. I had to change planes at DFW, and the second boarding pass had no gate number on it. When we were about to land, the helpful flight attendent reeled off the gates for connecting flights and she gave mine as C16. So, with nearly two hours to spare, I jumped on the SkyLink and went to C16 and read while my ipod charged. You see where this is heading, right? When I realized my flight should have boarded already, I finally looked at the departure board and saw my flight was actually boarding at C32. Me being me, I didn't check anything, so I had a big-ish backpack and a laptop and was wearing high-heeled sandals. Inappropriate footwear is my trademark. With six minutes until my flight was set to leave, I took off my shoes and ran barefoot through the terminal, around past the food vendors and finally got to C32 as they were about to close the door. The gate agent told me to run down the plank to the plane, and I did. At least the plane was only half-full, which I have not experienced since the bottom fell out after 2001.

Blogging has given me a second wind, so I'm off to watch television and eat something outrageously priced from the mini-bar.
Monday, 6:36am PST

Having gone through security in record time, I’m at the gate waiting the 80 minutes until my flight boards. Of course I forgot to charge my ipod, even after posting about it in the middle of the night; I’m trying to save what’s left of the battery for the flight. I also forgot to charge my phone or pack its charger. I did manage to pack an extra battery for the camera and remembered my toiletry bag at the last minute.

This is the first time I’ve been to the A gates since the airport was remodeled. It’s nice and there are lots of new stores. The asiago bagel breakfast sandwich I bought from one of the new places was good and not terribly overpriced. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have a few complaints, though. It took me a while to find a garbage can in this pristine new terminal Apparently I inadvertently packed my tinfoil hat, because I was momentarily convinced that Homeland Security had decreed that public trash receptacles are a threat to national security. Yeah, I’m excitable when up before dawn.

Then, when I opened up my laptop, it detected four wireless networks. Too bad two are pay-to-access hotspots and the other two are encrypted. Maybe I’ll go over to the Tully’s and see if theirs is free with purchase, but maybe not. Sea-Tac would be wise to follow the lead of other airports and just give free wireless access at the gates. So much of air travel is inconvenient and uncomfortable that it seems wise to make people happy in this small but significant way. I guess its more appealing to partner with T-Mobile and Cingular. Boo! So I have to type this up in a document and wait to get to my hotel to upload. Whatever.

Its interesting to watch people wait for a plane. Of course most people are keeping tmeselves busy reading, eating, talking on the cell phone about nothing, and sleeping, but some people are more entertaining. I see make-up application, nose picking, smooching, and pacing. The woman sitting across from me keeps staring at me with a nasty look on her face. If I was meaner, I’d take her picture with my phone and post it here. Staring back with a raised brow seems to have inspired her to stare at somebody else. Get a book. I guess I should save this battery for the flight, too.
I'm suffering from insomnia, as usual. Do either of the two of you who read this know of a cure? This is becoming a problem and I'm not interested in sleeping pills. The only two times in recent memory that I slept well and woke up rested were my trip to Scandinavia last year and the week I spent at this correctly named resort this spring.

So, I'm packed and ready for my trip, and need to go to sleep so I can wake up at 4:00am to make it to the airport by 6:00. This checking in two hours early business is the suck. I'm starting to freak about not having a book to read on the plane. Well, I have Underworld, but it's so big and certain to be complicated that I don't want to drag it around when I can't give it the attention it needs. Maybe I'll bring Michael Reynolds' third Hemingway bio and the Pratchett I haven't been able to get into. Ooh, and I need to charge my ipod.

While I guess I'm ready, I'm not as pleased with my presentation as I'd like to be. However, I've read so much on my topic that I'm not worried about being able to speak coherently about it. I think I'm just cranky because I'm using powerpoint for the first time since I graduated. I always made funny presentations then, and it's kind of sad that this time I have to play it straight. SJ and I recently looked at the slides from presentations we made together and I still think nobody can top Dawson's Gigantic Noggin.
My family had a big picnic in the park today. Whenever we get together, it's always this gigantic undertaking, mostly because my mother loves to entertain. What could have been a simple potluck instead involved a pickup truck full of gear (including a big gas grill and a tent). I totally inherited the entertaining gene, but I had so much going on this weekend that I was kind of dreading spending the whole day at the picnic instead of packing, prepping, and resting. However, the event was better than I had anticipated because some of my favorite friends came and brought their adorable children. Trying to explain to my friends who was related to me and how was difficult, but amusing. Witness:

Grad School BFF: Who is that little girl?
Halo: She's my dad's brother's ex-wife's husband's great-granddaughter. Seriously.
GSBFF: Whoah. Who's that guy talking to MiniThug?
Halo: Beats me.
Childhood BFF: Who's MiniThug?
Halo, to GSBFF: You explain.

Anyway, I had a nice time and it was fun to introdude GSBFF to CBFF. They've both heard all about one another from me for the past three years, so I was pleased to see them hit it off.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The phone interview seemed to go well. I got a good feeling about the people on the committee. It was really natural and they seemed to be having a good time talking with me. I should find out about on-campus interviews by the middle of next week. Fingers are crossed.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

So, I have to make a plug for Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. A colleague recommended it and I am so happy she did. I love working with librarians. I started the first book on Sunday night before bed (bad idea) and was halfway through the third book by the time I left for work this morning. I've never really been into genre fiction, especially fantasy, but I've read several good titles lately and am beginning to wonder what else I've been missing all this time.

One of my BFFs lent me Terry Pratchett's Night Watch, which I'm having a hard time getting into. I'll follow Nancy Pearl's 50 page rule before I decide whether I like it or not. In any case, I'm taking a break from ny old pal Hemingway for a little while. The Sun Also Rises was great, but I need somthing totally different.

Suggestions always welcome!
The phone interview seemed to go well. They called me yesterday to set up an on-campus interview. I fly out on Monday, so things are moving quickly. Now I need to set aside some time to prep my presentation. And I have another phone interview tomorrow morning. This is exciting, but managing everything I have to do is keeping me from getting too giddy. Now I just have to figure out how to avoid melting away in my suit. It's hard to look professional in the summer, and the really conservative look isn't for me.

As the job search speeds up, I still have to focus on the work I already have. The project I'm working on right now is pretty challenging. I've always liked working independently, but my MLIS program taught me how great it can be to work in teams. And the parts of my job I like best (besides teaching) are the collaborative projects and discussions we have. So its kind of strange to be working separately from the rest of the group. I love what I'm doing, though, and I'm learning more about collections, planning, staffing, and analysis than I could without hands-on experience.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

My friend BossTweed sent me this article,"Blogging in the Early Republic," from Common-Place, which I had never read before. Leave it to a classics major to know about cool stuff like this. Anyway, enjoy!
Okay, I am teh suck because I have not updated in eons. SJ smacked my hand today, so I have been schooled.

It sure is easy to get bogged down in the minutae of daily life and forget to stop and reflect on what's happening. The job search continues to move forward nicely. This morning, I got a call from a good medium-sized university in a cool city. We scheduled a phone interview for tomorrow, which I'm looking forward to. A few places have requested letters from my references, and I take that as a good sign. I've been pretty selective about the positions I apply for, targeting instruction jobs at schools with a committment to undergraduate education and libraries with teams of librarians. A solo gig sounds interesting, but at this stage in my career I think I'd like to learn from and collaborate with others for a while. I'm pretty social and like the collegiality of working with others.

Of course, The thought of moving away from this area, which I love beyond the telling of it, makes me a little sad. But I can't sit around here waiting for the perfect job to open up. It's starting to get exciting to think about moving somewhere completely new. Leaving Abbie will break my heart, though. She'll be better off with Nala and my parents than shut up in some apartment while I'm working, but I will miss her madly.

Monday, August 01, 2005

From A Library Writer's Blog: In response to the recent Chronicle article on blogging that really riled people, Sobriquet Magazine is looking for articles on blogging and the academic world. I'll be really interested to read more from the perspective of academics who blog.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

I'm back in the land of the living after three days of nasty flu. Hello, solid food. I've missed you! Let's never lose touch again, okay? Staying home from work sick is no fun. All I did was lounge around watching Tivo's recommendations, trying to keep popcicles down, and keeping up with work email. Blech.

Yesterday, I dragged myself to the vet for Nala's checkup and to get both dogs' nails trimmed and weights logged. Congrats to Abbie for losing another pound (net loss = 8lbs). I managed to escape a mere $350 later, but not without trauma. Isn't this the most pathetic sight:

Yes, she looks happy, but only because she's posing for a photo. Nala has an eye infection and, besides having to endure antibiotic eyedrops, is supposed to wear the collar to keep her from rubbing her eyes. When it's on, she's a mess. Her legs are short, so she gets stuck trying to walk up the stairs. She runs into things. She uses the collar like a cowcatcher, shoving Abbie, furniture, and people out of her way. My legs are all scratched up. The collar is coming off.

Ahhh--all better.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Washington state quarters are coming, so the joke entries have started popping up. I ganked this from Pop Culture Junk Mail.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Top: Abbie prefers stealing toys and apples from Nala and sitting on furniture. Bottom: Nala loves squeaky toys, picking apples, and making dirt forts. I have a dirty dog and a diva.

I spent the bulk of Sunday outside, alternately reading and playing ball with the dogs. They thoughtfully posed for a few photos. Actually, both of them are total hams and love to have their pictures taken. I can't imagine life without these two rascals. Even though they drive me crazy with their constant demands for attention--knocking books out of my hands, jabbing me with toys--I can't say no to them. I'm stupid crazy about them.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Job stuff

I'm trying out this post via email thing, so I
hope this comes through. I thought I'd take a
minute during my late lunch break to post that I
heard from one of the libraries I recently
applied to, and they want to talk to me. This
particular university is at the top of my short
list of places I'd like to work, so this is
especially exciting. It's just a first step, but
encouraging indeed. I know I'm fortunate to be
working in the temporary position I have now and
that I am getting awesome experience in a really
cool learning-focused environment, but it sure
would be nice to find a permanent position and
put down some new roots. More later, as things

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


It's so nice out today and I understand it will
stay this way for a while. As a good
northwesterner, I'm fond of rain, hot coffee, and
warm clothing. But there's something about
summers in this area that make me so happy. It's
like everything is more beautiful, happier, more
special, and more fleeting in the summer.

The summer after finishing community college and
before beginning my bachelor's program was really
hot. Like record hot. I had quit my horrible
receptionist job and moved in with my parents. I
had very little money that summer, but I remember
having a great time. I spent three months
barefoot, eating popcicles and playing with my
dog. My mom and I canned peaches, pears, and plum
jam. I read dozens of novels from the library and
slept better than I ever had, or ever have since.
While I wouldn't want to live that way forever,
summer makes me wish I could put everything on
hold and just hang out until fall comes.

I finally replaced the digital camera I dropped in Sweden last year, so I've been taking pictures during my lunch breaks and on my way to and from the library. The campus where I work is beautiful, especially on days like today (sunny, low 70s). It's landscaped well, but pretty naturally, in keeping with the wetlands we're located in. One thing I especially like about the campus is the great art. The picture to the left shows one of the little bronze pieces tucked into the big rock wall between two of the buildings. Books! There are at least three of these in the wall.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Time flies when I'm reading my face off. It's nice to be back in the habit of reading tons. I had to read so many theoretical articles and research studies during my master's program that I didn't read as much for fun as I usually do. My undergrad program was massively more reading intensive, but I pretty much loved all the novels, litcrit, and film stuff we covered. LIS literature, while interesting and all, generally doesn't make my day.

I guess I've been going on at length about the books I love, because my supervisor emailed me and asked for a list of what I've been reading lately. I waxed rhapsodic about Middlesex a few weeks ago, and I guess she liked it, too. Like most librarians, I looooove telling people about books I like and, as an academic librarian, I don't get to do reader's advisory very often. So, for my own enjoyment, I'll share the titles of the best stuff I've read in the past couple of weeks.

Not all of these are new, but I have a couple of years to catch up on. And there are still a couple of Hemingways I haven't read. I did read the new Harry Potter this Saturday--who didn't--but it doesn't get a place on the favorites list. Don't get me wrong, it was entertaining, but I still think books 3 and 4 are the best in the series. Just my opinion, of course.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Chronicle has an article on blogging and its possibly deleterious effects on job seeking. The author didn't say anything that anybody familiar with blogging or journaling hasn't heard before, but it's good to think about how this kind of writing can appear to those who don't like/understand/approve of it. While I am currently looking for a permanent professional position, I'm not too worried about this. I thought about blogging for a long time before taking the plunge. I definitely considered going the anonymous route but ultimately decided not to delay the inevitable and just be myself. While I might feel freer to vent if my identity were hidden, I think there's something to be said for taking ownership of my words and standing behind them.

For that reason, I won't be dishing dirt about students at the university library where I work, nor about coworkers (even though they're pretty awesome), or other professional colleagues. I figure that if I wouldn't feel comfortable saying something at work, it's probably not a good idea to broadcast it widely. That's not to say I don't have opinions about my profession, causes I champion, or people I disagree with. I just think there are better ways to talk about that stuff than to drag other people into it.

That said, there's no way of knowing if search committees will find this and what they'll think if they do. I'm going to keep blogging until I get tired of it, and will just have to live with the consequences. I think it's worth it.

Monday, July 11, 2005

I had a bunch of errands today, so work was a half day. When I go in late to work, it's hard for me to leave on time. I was working on writing projects for most of my day, so I got into a groove and suddenly, it was almost 7:00 and I was nearly late for my dinner plans.

I took a break from madly typing to talk to my awesome friend SJ today and learned that I, Asshole will be making its triumphant return very soon. AND, she has a spanking new domain!

Here we are at graduation last year. The cutest information professionals ever, I'd wager. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 10, 2005

I should be finishing up a batch of application materials. I have about five in the works and nearly ready to go. But it's so much nicer to watch the dogs play in the sun/rain mix we have going on.

This weekend has been really calm. I can't remember the last time I got to sleep in both weekend days. It feels so nice to go to bed without setting an alarm.