Saturday, November 24, 2007

thanksgiving part 2

No more family members got sick, though my throat is starting to get sore. I'm trying to believe it's just from lots of talking and I'm taking airborne now and before my flight in the morning in the hopes that it's not snake oil and will prevent a full-blown cold. Dad was still under the weather today, so Mom and I went to my brother's place for belated Thanksgiving. I had lots of time to hold my nephew and be amused by his antics. That child is pretty fun--very happy and social.

Westley and Aunt Kaijsa

I tried to send this photo in a text to Rick, but he said he got a "can't download" message. Oh, well. I get to share it with all of y'all. It looks like I'm holding a two year old, right? He's ten months old. Check out those hands! He'll be just like his dad, who could palm family sized cans of Campbell's soup at one year and ended up growing up to be 6'7".

Earlier in the day, Mom and I went to the mall and did a little shopping. I got a couple of things, but didn't really get too excited about much. Aren't malls weird? They sap my energy like nothing else. We didn't even make it off the ground floor of Nordstrom, so I wasn't tempted by overpriced outfits. Yesterday's brief outing to the Rack yielded half-priced Smartwool socks, which was pretty fabulous. I didn't do Christmas shopping, but did get some ideas and finalized most of my to-do list. All told, I think we spent about three hours shopping during this visit, including stops for groceries. Not bad, if you know anything about me.

Right now I'm plundering my parents' CD collection. They've been reproducing their vinyl collection with CDs for a while now, but there are still a lot of albums to go. I'm taking Cat Stevens, Fleetwood Mac, Jim Croce, Boston, the Beatles, the Mamas and the Papas, and Simon and Garfunkel. More if I can stay awake long enough. I need to be at the airport around 5:30 in the morning, so I better get to bed soonish.

Friday, November 23, 2007


My visit home to Seattle hasn't been what I expected. My mom called me before my flight early Thursday morning and let me know my dad took my brother to the emergency room the night before. Turns out he has pneumonia and was really sick, so he and my sister-in-law couldn't host Thanksgiving dinner. My mom and I ended up cooking the whole shebang over here for my parents, my grandma, and me. Then Dad and I took some food over to my brother's house and I got to see my nephew for a few minutes.

I got to meet up with SJ and her family, including Companion's father, for breakfast this morning. That was fun, though the server's stress level made me kind of stressed out, too. Then mom and I went out shopping at just a couple of places and didn't have any trouble parking even though this is crazy shopping day from hell. But we had to cut the fun short to take Dad to see the doctor, because he got really sick today. The doctor sent us straight to the ER because of Dad's high fever, so that makes two family members at the hospital in 48 hours. Not an awesome record. I came home to feed the dogs and wait for Mom to call and let me know when to pick them up again.

There's one day left of my vacation, and I really hope it gets better from here on out.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

for future reference

Rethinking reference is nothing new, and I'm unlikely to come up with any startling revelations. All I know is that I'm doing more and more instruction every term and it's my first priority. Balancing my time between direct service (reference and instruction) and my other duties is hard, and naturally I'm trying to figure out where best to expend my time and effort. My whole department, like just about every reference department at academic libraries, is trying to figure out what to do about this.

I work the late reference shift on Wednesday (attention stalkers!), and every week as I sit here answering mostly directional or factual questions, I think we might as well hire students to staff the desk at night and on weekends. But at least once every shift I end up with something more advanced, like teaching somebody how to use the ERIC thesaurus, finding the American Antiquities style guide online, or helping a student come up with alternative keywords for better searches in communications databases. I wonder what impact removing professional librarians from the desk would have on our patrons. I don't know our collection nearly as well as I'd like, but I can walk students right to specialized sources, and I don't think we could expect student workers to learn that level of complexity.

I don't have any answers, and I'm not raising any new questions. We keep adding services, and at some point, we're going to have to let some go. Some subject librarians are doing on-site reference in their departments and others do tons of consultations from faculty referrals. We've added IM reference, and it's being used a little. I'm trying to figure out how to integrate text messaging into this service, but that's just one item on a huge list of plans/ideas. I'm doing some consultations and a lot of instruction that's leading to students dropping by my office for help. I never thought I'd want to give up parts of my job, but if I could spend less time on reference, it might help with balance.

Just thinking out loud here.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I'm in a food mood

crunchy sexy roll
crunchy sexy roll

There's a new sushi place in Laramie, and I finally checked it out today at lunch. The lack of sushi in town has been a fairly significant issue for me, so I'm really rooting for this place to last. I ordered four pieces of ebi and a "crunchy sexy roll," all of which was good. The description sounded like the amazing "country rolls" I had at Sushi Afloat several years back, which I've never seen duplicated. It wasn't the same, but it was good. This awesomely named roll has tempura shrimp and crab inside and is topped with spicy sauce and two colors of roe. Fancy and tasty, though I wasn't expecting eight pieces and only made it through five. I also got four pieces of ebi, a longtime favorite nigiri option. The shrimp was sweet and tender, but I would have preferred more wasabi between the shrimp and rice. The presentation was very nice, too. I'm a sucker for that stuff.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

another book meme

I ganked this from Doppelganger, as usual. 50 Books is my go-to book/reading blog, after all.

Total number of books I own
Too many. Actually, I have no idea. I've cataloged 353 on LibraryThing, but that's not close to accurate. Some of those are library books I've blogged about, so I don't actually own them. On the other hand, I haven't even gotten to all my bookcases at home, and I seem to keep accumulating books at work because of various discussion groups.

Last book I read
I fell off the book blogging bus when I read a dozen or so M.C. Beaton mysteries in a recent binge. I can't remember which one I read last, but I think it might have been Death of a Celebrity. I'm fixing to start The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie and I need to finish Discussion as a Way of Teaching for two different discussion groups on campus.

Last book I bought
I'm a heavy library user and have kind of stopped buying books. I think the last one I actually purchased was Flight, also by Sherman Alexie, back in the spring. (I've since forced it on several friends, who agree it's awesome.)

Five meaningful books
I guess I can choose to define meaningful any way I wish, but this is still hard. I'm going to go with books that are personally meaningful to me. This kind of feeling is really hard to describe, so I won't try to justify my choices, unless my readers comment and demand it (as if).
  1. Garden of Eden, by Earnest Hemingway
  2. Hard Love, by Ellen Wittlinger
  3. Polyverse, by Lee Ann Brown
  4. Despite Everything: A Cometbus Omnibus, by Aaron Cometbus
  5. Desolation Angels, by Jack Kerouac
Wow, I even surprised myself a little there.