Saturday, October 25, 2008

Some Time for Me

It is a gorgeous October Saturday, vividly blue sky and breezy, so the leaves on the ground make that wonderful crunchy sound when they blow around. Days like today make fall my favorite time of year.

We were up bright and early this morning, MUCH earlier than normal for a Saturday.....reason being because this weekend is Halloween camp at Camp
Wapsie! Check-in time was 10am, so we were on the road by 9am. It takes about an hour from our house. The day started out cloudy, but started to clear as we drove north. As we pulled in to camp, the sun broke out from behind the clouds, promising a glorious day!

I walked Gillian to her cabin, helped get her sleeping bag and pillow on her bed, and then gave her hugs and left her to her adventures. They will have so much fun - crafts, a "haunted" trail, and a party tonight with Halloween costumes. Good stuff!

I got home a little around 11:30am, after a quick stop at my friend Kristina's great food store, Cocina del Mundo. It's a great shop, full of wonderful combinations of spices that she combines, and her own AMAZING chicken salads, salsas, soups, pastas, and imported goods, just to name a few of the things Kristina carries. I picked up a serving of her pear pecan chicken salad, which was perfect for lunch, and a couscous paella mix, that I'll make in the next few days. Seriously, check out her website.

I've spent the day messing around at home, doing some cleaning and organizing, and then I did some grocery shopping. I did shop at Walmart. I have been shopping at Walmart quite a lot lately, and I'm noticing a real change in the service as well as in the employees working at my Walmart. In the past, the employees didn't seem quite as devoted to their job, but today I noticed a real change in the attitude of the employees working there. Much more customer service oriented, as well as older (by that I mean actual grownups). Harder working, too. I'm going to hope that means that the Walmart conglomerate is treating said employees better...

I also stopped at our Co-op, and picked up some fresh bread, cheese, and some salmon for dinner tonight. I was amazed at how EXPENSIVE salmon is right now! I just got a small filet, and I know it will be delicious.

After a walk in the gorgeous fall air, I'm now home, relaxing and thinking about a yummy dinner and an evening of movies before seeing what Saturday Night Live has up their sleeves tonight. I hope everyone is having a glorious weekend!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

At Long Last - Pics from Dubuque

I've been meaning to post some photos from my trip to Dubuque last week, but life has been getting in the way! Before we get to what's been going on, here are some photos from my trip last week.

We stayed at the Grand Harbor Resort in Dubuque, Iowa. It's right on the Mississippi River, and it's a beautiful building with breathtaking views. Of course, I'm a Illinois/Iowa girl through and through, so I have a special affinity for The Big Muddy. Anyway, here are some views of the Mississippi River from the resort and from our hotel room, which looked right out on the River. Click on the pics if you want to see them up close....

This is my favorite picture, taken last Friday morning from our hotel room:

If you can ever get to the middle of the country, north or south, to experience the Great River that is The Mississippi, you won't be sorry. It personifies America to me like few other landmarks do.

Oh, and here's a picture of a chipmunk outside my house. Isn't it cute?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I'm in Dubuque!

Just a quick blog this afternoon. And a shoutout to laptops and wireless connectivity.

I am in Dubuque, Iowa, this week, at the Iowa Library Association annual conference. The conference is being held at the Grand River Center, right on the banks of the Mississippi River. It's beautiful here. We can walk right out the doors and straight to the river, and our hotel room also has a river view.

I'll be taking pictures and posting them later this week. When we drove up yesterday, it was rainy and very dreary. Today is beautiful - brilliant blue sky, sparkling river, and the leaves are changing. It's getting difficult to be inside!

The conference is very interesting. Right now I'm sitting in a session about Wii gaming in libraries. For all ages. I'm going to try this this winter.

I've been learning about the changing face of reference, and generally getting that good feeling of "I love being a Librarian!" that I always get when I come to the conference. It is usually a very motivating and self-esteem boosting experience!

More later!

Friday, October 10, 2008

What a Week

Friday night and I'm finally home. Exhausted. It's been a busy week, and I'm feeling it!

I had to work on Sunday, it was my turn, so knowing that I now have two days off, I feel like I've entered heaven. Sunday was a rough day - our automation system at the library was down, so everything had to be done by hand. Not awful, but it takes at least twice as long to check in and check out. And of course, everyone had to comment, so I had to repeat the story multiple times. God love our patrons.

The rest of the work week, other than a few extra hours of desk time on Monday, has been pretty normal. Lots to do, and lots of planning done for programs for this month.

Gillian has had rehearsal every night this week, plus some extra rehearsals for the play she's doing on Saturday. Nice though - no Schoolhouse Rock rehearsals this weekend. Just one last rehearsal and then the performance of The Pillowman tomorrow (Saturday) night. One week from tonight is opening night of Schoolhouse Rock!.

Tonight I had a program at the library, after we closed at 7pm. Duffy Hudson, a film and Broadway actor, also does a traveling, one-man, Edgar Allan Poe Show. He performed tonight at the library, and he was phenomenal. It was a treat to see someone make Poe come alive. After hearing some of Poe's life story and dramatizations of The Tell-Tale Heart, Annabelle Lee, and The Raven, I will never read or look at Poe the same way again. We have a book of Poe's poems and short stories here at home, and I may need to pick it up again this weekend.

But for now, we're home, relaxing and watching Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone on Disney. I'm happy, so happy, it's the weekend!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Here Are the Facts

I have really tried not to talk too much about the Presidential election and all the campaigning, but I really need to speak up about an issue that's really bothering me.

It started with VP candidate Sarah Palin accusing Barack Obama of being friends with terrorists. Terrorists, you say? Why yes, a certain William Ayers, who was a founding member of Weather Underground, a domestic terrorist outfit of the 1960s. He and his wife, also a member of the group, allegedly carried out a number of bombings of federal buildings in the 1960s.

When Barack Obama was 8 years old.

All charges were dropped against Ayers and his wife, and now Ayers is a professor at the University of Chicago. He and the Obamas live in the same neighborhood and have worked on some projects in the last few years. Ayers is no longer involved in any kind of insurrection. According to CNN, "Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt told CNN that after meeting Obama through the Annenberg project, Ayers hosted a campaign event for him that same year when then-Illinois state Sen. Alice Palmer, who planned to run for Congress, introduced the young community organizer as her chosen successor. LaBolt also said the two have not spoken by phone or exchanged e-mail messages since Obama came to the U.S. Senate in 2005 and last met more than a year ago when they encountered each other on the street in their Hyde Park neighborhood."

These accusations that Obama consorts with terrorists are ridiculous and I'm so sick and tired of listening to the McCain campaign using them as their rallying cry. Please, just drop it and spend the rest of the campaign talking about what you will do as President, and not what the other guy has done, will do, or can't do. And THAT goes for BOTH campaigns.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Her Reputation Precedes Her!

I had an interesting email this afternoon! I received an email from Josh, the director of a production of The Pillowman in Iowa City. It is an award winning, and very controversial play, by Martin McDonagh.

Saturday is the last performance of the play, and a young girl in the show cannot make the last performance. Well. Josh knows Chris, the director of Schoolhouse Rock Live! that Gillian is currently in rehearsals for, and Chris recommended Gillian to play the role in the last performance! Additionally, Josh saw Gillian perform in To Kill a Mockingbird last year. So, he emailed me and asked if I'd be willing to let Gillian perform in The Pillowman. Because it is a show intended for mature audiences because of language and some violence, Gillian won't see the rest of the show, only the part she is in. No lines, she just acts out a role as her story is narrated. And, it's just one night.

Gillian is excited to do it, and feels very honored that she was recommended for it. And I feel the same. She's gaining a reputation in Iowa City theatre circles, and I think that's exciting!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Lots Going On

The last few days have been busy, and it's really just the precursor to what's coming in the next month.

First, to all my fellow Cubs fans: JUST WAIT 'TIL NEXT YEAR! How in the WORLD one of the best teams of this season could blow it in the first round of playoffs is beyond me, but the curse lives on.

We are now twelve days until opening night of School House Rock Live - Gillian's show. She will be very busy with rehearsals this week, then the weekend off, then next week will be dress rehearsals and the show. I'm not at all involved with this one, so I really don't know how things are shaping up, other than the bits and pieces of rehearsals that I do see, but I think it's going to be a great production!

Next week, Wednesday - Friday, I will be at the Iowa Library Association's annual conference. It's in Dubuque this year. It's always a good event, and great to network with librarians from all over the state. It's just a little crazy this year, as Gillian will have dress rehearsals Wednesday and Thursday, but I won't be here. Dan will be taking her to those, and then I'll be home Friday afternoon, just in time for opening night!

This Friday, the 10th, I'm hosting an amazing program at the library. Duffy Hudson is a Broadway and film actor, and he does a one-man Edgar Allen Poe show. He's coming to perform the evening of the 10th, and I'm very excited!

So, last night, we went to see Kathy Griffin in concert. Of course, she was hilarious and irreverent and naughty, and it was a riot! She didn't make fun of Sarah Palin as much as we expected, but she spread her snarkiness far and wide so as not to leave many celebrities unscathed! We were home in time for Saturday Night Live, however, and whatever Kathy Griffin didn't mention about Sarah Palin, the cast of SNL, including Tina Fey, certainly did! Their mocking of the VP debate was fantastic!

Fall is slowly making its way to my part of Iowa. Some of the trees are starting to turn colors just a little bit, and many more trees are thinking about it. I hope to take some pictures and post in the next week or two. But, the weather is gorgeous - this is a great time of year to live in Iowa!