Saturday, February 28, 2009

How Cool is This?

My DAD is on Facebook. How cool is that? You know, he just had his birthday, he turned 78 years old this past Tuesday, and the man joined Facebook!

It's true that Facebook is no longer just for high school and college students. So many people in my family are now connected thanks to this wonderful social networking site: family here in the U.S., family in Canada, and family in England. I'm in contact with cousins I haven't seen or spoken to in years.

And now Dad is part of the mix. It really excites me to see people embracing and trying new things. And just goes to show, you should NEVER stop learning!!!

Yay, Dad!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

February is SUCH a Boring Month!

It's a good thing it's the shortest month of the year......

I haven't blogged much because there's been nothing to share! Work, then home, then work, then home, a nice day here and there, and then back to dreary and grey winter days.

Gillian and I have been keeping sane with reading and movies. She is lost in camp dreaming at the moment, and I think she's watched the movie Meatballs about 20 times! Dreaming of green and birdsong and warm sunshine is getting us through the rest of a very long winter.

I am finishing up the new novel by Kristin Hannah, True Colors. Her books tend to be a bit maudlin, and so far this one is no exception. But somehow, her novels are compelling, and sucked in I get! I'm just about finished, and I was going to start the new Jodi Picoult, Handle With Care, but Gillian is RAVING about a book she just finished, The Year Without Michael, by Susan Pfeffer, so I promised I would read it next. I've never seen her so energized about a book, so it must be a good one.

It's almost the weekend, and I am ready to kick back. Read, grocery shop, do a little cleaning, and just relax. I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

25 Random Things About Me - Redux

There is a big craze sweeping Facebook lately. It's a survey, "25 things about me." You list 25 things about yourself that people may or may not know, then you "tag" a bunch of your Facebook friends to do the survey. So, several weeks ago I did the survey and tagged people, who have in turn done the survey and tagged other people, so I've been having a great time reading all these survey answers! The only thing is, now I'm completely dissatisfied with my original survey answers, so I've decided to do it again. This time, I'm also adding it as a blog post. So, here goes!

1. I went to Cornell College, in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, which has a "One Course at a Time" teaching philosophy. You take one course for 3 1/2 weeks, have 4 1/2 days off, then start a brand new class. Learning is very intensive, and class time is somewhere between 2-5 hours a day, depending on the class. If you want to compare it to a traditional semester system, one day at Cornell is like a week at a traditional college/university.
2. In my very first class at Cornell, Intro. to Philosophy, our professor LOVED to throw pop quizzes. His requirement for answering the questions on those pop quizzes: you must answer each question in ONE grammatically correct sentence. One sentence only. This has stuck with me ever since.
3. I used to be painfully shy. Those of you who knew me in grade school/middle school/high school probably remember this. I was also really scared of being teased/made fun of, which actually rarely ever happened, with the exception of one certain person, and who I allowed to destroy my self-confidence for years. But when you're a kid, you don't understand that other people do not have control over you, so it took me a very long time to realize that I'm a pretty cool person.
4. My daughter, on the other hand, does not take after me in this regard. She is outgoing, always eager to make new friends, and doesn't worry what other people think. She isn't afraid to stand up in front of people and speak, and she is one of the best young actors I've ever encountered.
5. I completed my MLIS degree completely online without ever having to set food on the Univ. of Wisconsin - Milwaukee campus. I find this absolutely amazing.
6. The act of censorship angers me more than I can express. Censor yourself, censor what your kids read, but DO NOT even try to make those decisions for other people or other people's children.
7. One of my favorite movies is Field of Dreams and I watch it every February when I really need a dose of Iowa green. What's funny about this is that when I saw the movie for the first time, I was not an Iowa fan yet, even though I lived here, and the first time you hear: "Is this Heaven? No, it's Iowa," in the movie, I laughed out loud in the theatre. I was the only one who laughed out loud. But, I get it now.
8. I don't miss being married. Sometimes I get a little twinge when I see two people together who are very much in love and respect each other, but the twinge is more of a "what a great relationship those people have" rather than a "I wish I had that."
9. My daughter is the world to me. She is such an amazing person and I delight in watching her grow into herself.
10. When I was a kid, I thought the perfect day would be to spend the entire day in the library, reading whatever I wanted and wandering all over the library, and eating lunch at the nearby donut shop. I thought it would be heaven! And now I am a librarian, so go figure......
11. I love to travel and will happily go to places I've never been, but at the same time I'm also a homebody and love being in my home and puttering around. I need my downtime, especially on weekends, and don't like to be on the go all the time.
12. I am rarely bored. I enjoy my own company.
13. Last year, on my trip to Napa, Washington and Oregon with my dear friend Janice, I got pulled over for speeding. 73 mph in a 55 mph zone. I was freaking out, until a red pickup truck drove by us so fast he made our car shake! Needless to say, the Oregon state trooper ran back from his squad car to return my license to me, and sped off after the pickup without giving me a speeding ticket!
14. It took me a very long time to know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I did a bunch of different things - music sales, customer service, corporate training, business analyst (that was weird, too), stay-at-home mom, and then one day I applied for a part-time library position. And the rest is history. Once I started at the library, I knew I found my vocation. Being a librarian is exactly what I'm supposed to be doing.
15. I am immune to the chickenpox. No kidding. My mom thinks I might have had one pox on my face when I was about a year old, but she wasn't really sure. Other than that maybe pox, I've never had an actual case of chickenpox. When I was pregnant with Gillian, my bloodwork came back stating I'm immune from the chickenpox. The only thing I can think of is that my mom had the chickenpox right before she was pregnant with me and passed on her immunity to me.
16. I am VERY grateful to be in contact with friends who were very dear to me growing up. Facebook is wonderful. I think it is very important to have friends who knew you "when." I love that I am in contact with a great group of people from my DeKalb days and a great group of people from my Cornell days.
17. I am extremely critical of myself and spend too much time comparing myself to others. In my heart I know that this is a complete waste of my time and energy, but I have yet to learn to cut myself a break. I am much more forgiving of others than of myself.
18. I find absurd and random things exceptionally funny, especially when they happen out of the blue. I also have a tendency to want to laugh at inappropriate times, and trying not to laugh just makes it worse.
19. I firmly believe that a hot cup of tea can cure just about anything.
20. At work, I am much happier and more productive if I have a little too much to do.
21. I hate alarm clocks, and the best thing about weekends and vacations is not having to set my alarm clock!
22. I am a good listener, and will lend an ear, or a shoulder to cry on, at any time. I am, however, not good at letting others do this for me. It's been a long time since I've "put myself out there." I think sometimes it comes off as superficiality, but it really is just being afraid to stick my neck out and risk being vulnerable.
23. I often think that, as an adult, I don't have a clue what I'm doing, and at any moment, everyone else will think that about me, too.
24. I am skeptical of organized religion. Not to be confused in any way with faith. Religious people make me nervous. I also believe that religious people are not faith based, and faith based people are not religious. They are completely different. I think about this quite a lot.
25. Lately, I've been fascinated with biographies and autobiographies, and I love looking through the photographs that you find in the middle of many bios. I love the opportunity to get a glimpse into people's lives.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

This Recession Affects Everyone, and February is the Longest Month of the Year

It's been a long week. A little discouraging and morale testing. But, in the end, I realize you need to be thankful for what you have. What's the line from the Sheryl Crow song? Oh yes, It's not having what you want, it's wanting what you've got.

The North Liberty City Council decided, in their ultimate wisdom (cough cough), that the budget for the upcoming fiscal year did not have room in it to give city staff anything close to a decent raise, even though our city administrator and asst. city admin. had already completed the budget and determined that yes, there was money for staff raises. Only 1 council member stood up for staff. The rest of them wanted no raise at all or 1%. This, after they spent thousands of dollars to do a compensation study last year that determined that city staff was underpaid compared to other cities North Liberty's size. This, after our admin. and asst. admin looked at the rise in the cost of living nationwide and looked at what other cities in our area were giving for raises.

It was a real blow. Not just that the raise isn't there, although that does smart, considering our health insurance rates just went up, which means we'll be taking less home in every paycheck because our raise won't even cover the increase. What is discouraging is the lack of respect the city council members showed city staff. The council doesn't keep the city running. It's the city staff that does!

It feels a little like playing God to me. I fail to understand why these people should be able to control my purse strings AFTER they were presented with a budget that was put together by the two people in this city who were hired to be stewards of the city's money. And they do a good job.

I don't expect sympathy, and I especially don't expect sympathy from people who have lost their jobs and are now struggling to make ends meet while they find a new job. But I will say that this recession is affecting everyone, in some form or another.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

An Anniversary of Sorts

Today marks 7 years. It's an anniversary of sorts, the anniversary of the day I began to find my voice, my strength, my passion.

Seven years ago today, Dan dropped his bombshell. It devastated me, it was the last thing in the world I was expecting to hear, and over the next several months, I wasn't sure I had it in me to pick up and continue on.

But then I found out I did. I found myself at a crossroads. Take the way of self-pity and bitterness, or take the way of self-discovery and love. I chose the self-discovery path, and while not easy it was most definitely the right choice!

I was already working part-time at the library, but the bombshell forced me to consider all my options. I went full-time, discovered I truly LOVE library work, and then was lucky enough to go back to school and obtain my MLIS degree. I've gained so much wonderful experience working at the library and I work with amazing people who are like family to me. I am blessed to do what I know I'm meant to do.

If 7 years ago hadn't happened, I don't know if I would have been motivated to go full-time and then go on to get my degree. I also think I would have remained the passive wife instead of going after what I want. It makes you think. You may lose one thing, but gain another. One door closes, but more than another door, a new outlook opens!

I know I'm stronger and I know I truly can do ANYTHING I set my mind to. Sometimes the result of a REALLY BAD experience is something great. But I don't thank Dan for that.

I thank ME.