Monthly Archives: May 2011

Library Life Listers: Weddings, Ducks, and Paul Simon

For the Life Listers, in many ways, the past week was the beginning of summer. Three of us went on our summer contracts, and all of us liked the library’s shorter hours, getting home earlier in the evenings. Summer is a time when the pace is a little slower, so it’s a good time if you haven’t done your life list yet, to start adding some items.

In general, it was a good week for us. Here are our lists:

Allison:

an excellent (flute) performance at my little brother’s wedding in May: DONE.

The wedding was Saturday, on a sunny overlook at Fall Creek Falls State Park. Our performance went well. More than one person called us “show savers”–we improvised a new arrangement of “I Love You Always Forever” when we saw that the mothers and grandmothers were being seated earlier in the program that originally planned. This meant we’d skip over the other two pieces we’d prepared for the processional, but the show must go on, yes? Yes. Even when the iPod we were using for the bridal party’s entrance (Daniel and Laura had decided on a mixture of live and pre-recorded music) mysteriously wouldn’t play–we played Pachelbel’s Canon instead–and even when pianist Dana Grace, who accompanied me, was stung by a bee! She didn’t miss a note. And, thankfully, we were able to remedy the unfortunate electronic issue just in time for the bride’s entrance. I’m glad that our years of performing together have taught us to prepare for the unexpected and to maintain composure while frantically thinking on our feet! So, whether or not I can honestly call this performance “excellent” (musically speaking, that might be a stretch…I let panic over the iPod nonsense affect my tone quality during the last piece we played), I’m checking this goal off my life list.

translate the book of Esther

I am woefully behind.

work toward solving the problem of homelessness in Nashville

Bought few copies of The Contributor.

give my best to the ESL classes I help teach

I ran Sunday’s class. We finished up the Clifford story we began reading a few weeks ago. The class went well.

Emily:

Learn French: Still working on my Live Mocha lessons, but pronunciation remains a problem.

Cook dinner for friends (more often): Hosted impromptu dinner party. Menu included: grilled fish tacos, quinoa black bean salad, mojitos, and key lime pie.

Cook a new dish and/or pie each week: None of the above dishes were new for me; however, I did try my hand at duck over the weekend. Here’s my recipe (adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Around my French Table):

Whisk together olive oil, honey, and balsamic vinegar, salt/pepper in a bowl.

Preheat oven to 250.

Heat stove medium/high.

Put duck in dutch oven skin side down.

Fill the kitchen ½ smoke ½ air

Get significant other* (or other person unafraid of duck fat splatter) to flip duck.

Wait for smoke alarm to go off (your kitchen should now be ¾ smoke)

Cover all exposed to skin (to avoid fat splatters) and remove duck from dutch oven

Loosely wrap duck in tin foil and put in oven 5 minutes to finish cooking.

Remove duck from oven (kitchen should now be ½ smoke).

Put balsamic mixture in dutch oven.

Put duck back in dutch oven to cook about 30 sec. on each side.

Serve with sauce

Bon Appetit!

*Cook’s Note: If no one is available, use your favorite fencing move to flip the duck (I recommend a lunge followed by a cross over). If you’ve forgotten your fencing basics consult this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sUf_MlRow0.

Sally:

  • My leg is continuing to get stronger.  I am still working on being able to stand up and pump up hills. 
  • I continue to tell everyone I meet about TEL and MERLOT.  This morning I told the circulation staff from Volunteer State about MERLOT.
  • New things learned this week:

How to use LibGuides and SoftChalk to make subject guides for the library.  They both do some really nice stuff. 

  • The trees that I have planted are doing great because of all the rain.  I just hope that the Cicadas don’t eat all of the leaves off the new little trees. 
  • I am still working on my “Cycling for Libraries” pre-conference idea. 

 Pam:

PERFORMING

  • Assembled huge set list to prepare for a July trio gig in NC. Looking forward to learning and relearning songs. Not worried. Enjoying music again with no stress.
  • Have begun a duet with a friend who also enjoys and plays ‘old-time’ ‘string’ music (guitar /clawhammer banjo/ mandolin/ singing). We plan to go down to Broadway and perform on the street corner 😉 I suggested we dress up like Civil War soldiers – me in gray, she in blue (of which she balked at my suggestion that she wear blue – since she is, in fact, “from South Carolina”, and I am from northern Kentucky, and therefore, should be the Yankee! (…of which I readily informed her that “we were neutral”). Still, a Yankee I’ll be, and she the Rebel. My suggestion is that we call ourselves Blue and Gray; she is considering this, however, is not extremely enthusiastic that we dress like Civil war soldiers. I am, however, shopping for a Yankee cap and uniform… 😉

WALKING

  • Watched a biker pumping by as I was riding along on my lawn mower yesterday. It occurs to me that I need to do an aerobic exercise at this age in my life. Must build a plan. I will, I promise myself. I will.

READING

  • Have recently checked out almost 10 books. Am perusing books on mountain climbing, mythology, etc. The world is so full of interesting things. Plan to finish the History of Everything by this weekend. My new endeavor is “Walking Across Egypt”, by recommendation of Charles May. 

WEIGHT 128

  • My scale broke. Emily, please bring back the green scale…Will consider joining the upcoming loser’s club with MFJ and “The Michelles”. Am eating less and exercising more. Am trimming down a bit. Am fearful if I lose too much weight I will ‘look gaunt’, as I am so lovingly described by people who care about me – who don’t else know how to say, “Gosh, you’re looking old”. So, I think I’ll go for 135 and see how I feel.

 ORGANIC FARMING / Farmer Gadd Chronicles

  • Pam’s Pig Pen Produce Patch continues to thrive in Joelton. Have begun eating the radishes from my patch and will install new rows to replenish them this weekend. Also plowed up 2 new garden patches and plan to plant eggplant, squash, cucumber, okra, watermelon and more pumpkin this weekend. Yippee!

WRITE 1 LETTER A WEEK

Wrote to my mother this week 😉 What a joy.

KEEP HOUSE ORGANIZED

  • Doing better with staying on top of my house and laundry! 😉  Those dishes, however…

 CLAWHAMMER BANJO 

 Learned “Angeline the Baker”, “Little Sadie”, “Needle Case” and “Cold Frosty Morning”!! Am working on “Over the Waterfall” and “Jawbone”. To be continued…

New additions to my Life List:

  • Do a 25 mile day hike
  • Go canoeing this summer
  • Camp out in NC and see a billion stars again
  • Set my telescope up and see Orion’s nebula where new stars are being born
  • Fix my bike up and start riding on the weekends again
  • Make my office into a teaching studio

Jolly Librarian:

Reading:  Finished Les Miserables, which was on my life list of books to read.  It was also a real sense of victory when I finished the 1194th page.

Socializing: Went to the Paul Simon concert, (another life list item to see all great songwriters in concert) and Les Miserables, the musical, at TPAC.

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Life Lessons from the Library: Librarians are People Too!

In the midst of weeding this past week, Librarian Emily came across a book from the 1980s, a book designed to improve librarians’ communications skills. Now, ideally, none of us would argue with this; I think most people could benefit from learning to communicate better. (For instance, my staff felt that my blog yesterday had an angry tone when no such tone was intended. In fact, it was supposed to be humorous. Give myself an “F” grade on that.)

But what has both amused and bemused us is the tone of this book. The author, probably quite unintentionally, seems to believe that librarians have no interpersonal skills whatsoever and must start at the beginning. In fact, if alien beings ever land on this planet and want to know how to get along with humans, this would be a perfect book for them. The author starts many sentences with”People often feel . . . People often react. . .” as if librarians might not actually be people.

There was also a very handy chart of gestures to refer to when librarians didn’t understand what people meant when these “regular people” used their hands to express meaning. And most of them did not resemble at all the actual gestures we see in our library.   

Still, the book has provided us with some chuckles. When a colleague mentioned that another person had not noticed her irritation, we quickly turned to the gesture page so that she could be clearer with her intent the next time. And for a whole afternoon, I kept waving my hands up in the air to show I was disturbed, although I may have been the only one who found that amusing.

Still, it occurred to me that maybe the old stereotype of librarians is still out there. So in case it is, here are some fun facts about the library staff here at The Mayfield Library:

  • Terry is in a band, and I mean a real alternative band, not the marching band where perhaps you expect librarians to hang out.
  • Pam is a banjo player who has shared the stage with the likes of Porter Waggoner and shared a studio with Dolly Parton.
  • Sally rides her bike all over Nashville and Mount Juliet.
  • Charles can wear some pretty crazy-looking socks.
  • Emily is a cook. Last week, her repertoire included roast duck and lemon-raspberry muffins.
  • Alison is a style maven. Who else comes to work looking like Stevie Nicks one day and Coco Chanel the next?
  • Faye can bend any computer program to her will.
  • Andrew can quote Mr. Rogers one minute and an episode of South Park the next.
  • And the Jolly Librarian herself likes nothing better than running at the Y while listening to Snow Patrol.

So, you see, we are not computers that spit out information about resources. We can do more than hush you if you talk too loud and tackle you if you try to take a reference  book from the library. We actually do leave the library and mingle with ordinary folks each day. And, often, and let this be a warning to you, you often can’t tell us apart from the regular “people” out there.

Monday Motivator: Get Rid of Clutter

Let me be the first to admit it: I hate clutter. I don’t find stacks of papers, books, and knick-knacks the least bit appealing. I like books on shelves, papers in files, and knick-knacks neatly on shelves. So, perhaps to make me a little less obsessive about this, God decided to plop me right down in the middle of the biggest group of clutter lovers that may ever have existed on this planet: The Mayfield Library staff.

As I type this, I look on boxes of stuff that came out of Charles’s cubicle last summer when we had to move due to the renovations. He did unpack some boxes when we moved back in, but now one year later, twelve sit untouched. And that is only the tip of the iceberg. Since I prefer not to give myself  a panic attack thinking about it, I won’t go into further detail.

What truly amazes me about my colleagues is their total lack of concern over clutter. Books can pile up on a counter, and no one thinks, “Wow, they need to be wrapped and put in their proper place.”  Scraps of paper collect at the circulation desk without anyone wanting to throw them away. Stacks of paper pile up around folks’ desks, and no one’s peace of mind is affected in any way.

As long as work goes on, I try to not complain about the clutter. Still, I think a regular period of cleaning out is good for the soul. For  me, I have a few rules. Every time I buy a book now, one has to leave my bookcase. Every time I buy clothes, jewelry, or makeup, a similar object must be given or thrown away. It sometimes hurts, but I make myself do it. Too much stuff makes me feel weighed down.

So this week, look around your office, home, or even car. Give away or throw away one thing you no longer use.

Library Life Listers: Life is What We Make of It

One of the problems with the bucket list is that many of the items on it take such a commitment that we can’t imagine finding the time, energy, and/or money to accomplish them. One way to prevent that is to treat them like any goal and have a plan for fulfilling them. According to researchers, one effective way to reach goals is to set an “if-then” plan.

It works something like this: Let’s say that one of your bucket list items is to run a marathon. Now most of us aren’t going to wake up tomorrow and run 26 miles. So you have to come up with a plan. That much makes sense. But what seems to make a real difference is to state  this way: “If it is morning, then I am at the track.” Or more specifically, “If it is a Monday, Wednesday, Friday morning, then I am running 7 miles.”

Various studies have shown that this sort of “if-then” planning can make a real difference, so give it a try.

Now for the life lists:

Emily:

Learn French: Still working on it, but not terribly motivated. French lessons mostly motivate me to cook, which led to the yogurt cake I baked over the weekend (file this under life list item #4).

Paint dining room/paint shelves: I painted a coffee table, so I get half points, right? I also looked at paint colors for the dining room and planned to paint it last weekend; however, I got a tummy ache from life list overload. (Jolly Librarian editorial comment: I think it’s obvious by now that Emily is a life list excuse maker.)

Jolly Librarian:

Reading: Still reading Les Miserables. I am now on page 500. For any other book, that would mean the end is in sight.  But no, I’m still about 70 pages from the middle. Really, I’m not quite sure what else can happen to poor Jean Valjean.

Writing: Am still plugging away, averaging a page per day.

Socializing: Attended a dinner party last Friday where a five-year-old bashed his head on a coffee table and proved once again that scalp wounds bleed profusely. Another reason not to socialize.

Allison:

an excellent (flute) performance at my little brother’s wedding in May

My accompanist and I have spent the week perfecting the final selection of music for the ceremony (“I Love You Always Forever,” Pachelbel’s “Canon in D,” and “Because You Loved Me”) and for before the processional begins (“Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” “Trumpet Tune,” “Trumpet Voluntary,” the Bach/Gounod “Ave Maria,” “Air on a G String,” “Music for a Found Harmonium,” and possibly “Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms” and Schubert’s “Ave Maria”–we added those last five to our selection of pre-ceremony music just this week). We’ll most likely have to abridge both Pachelbel’s Canon and “Because You Loved Me,” but we don’t know exactly how long it will take to seat the parents and grandparents, so we worked out three possible combinations of shortened versions of those pieces. At the wedding rehearsal Friday night, we’ll see which arrangements will work best. We also made arrangements to borrow sound equipment and a sturdy music stand (I only have a wire stand–not optimal for outdoor performances). I think Saturday will be fine.

translate the book of Esther

I’m to Esther 3:8–just barely behind schedule.

work toward solving the problem of homelessness in Nashville

I bought a copy of The Contributor this week.

write some things I’m proud of
Had an idea the other night and started writing. I have a long way to go with this one, but it’s an idea I’ve been afraid to tackle before, so I’m proud I’ve started on it.

become more fluent in Spanish
I read a few pages of a Spanish children’s book one night before bed…but that is all!

give my best to the ESL classes I help teach
Emailed my co-teacher to consult about the upcoming class.

Sally:

My leg is continuing to heal.  Sometime I think I can tell the weather with my leg.  It hurts more when it is rainy.

 I continue to tell everyone I meet about MERLOT and TEL.  Last week I told a little girl selling lemonade in the Sylvan Park neighborhood about TEL. 

 Today I toured the Library of Congress trailer exhibit.

 I am still working on my Cycling for Libraries ride for next year’s TLA pre-conference.

 Pam: (It is the Jolly Librarian’s humble opinion that Pam could benefit from some if-then planning.)

PERFORMING

  • Playing clawhammer banjo is my new joy. Not only is there the goal of teaching it as part of the new Vol State bluegrass curriculum, but it is a personally satisfying, fun expression of my heart. The tunes are wonderful, the various tunings soulful and creative, and I seem to have the knack for it since I already know the neck and string layout (It’s a totally different right hand technique). The challenge is stimulating.
  • With this said, playing with friends and going to some upcoming old-time jams is calling my name, so performing out has taken a detour to performing ‘in’, while I get my chops up and then attempt to join in some jams. Have started picking with an old friend once a week for practice and fun, as well.

WALKING

  • No real routine. Scared of the boredom of locking down a particular routine I guess.
  • Have checked into the Sportsplex for swimming hours. Am thinking of walking the greenway once a week. Still, no routine, daily workout.
  • Am working out at work with squats and stretches, neck lifts (hanging off my bed—you know, the TGP’s (Turkey Gobbler Prevention exercises). Never more than now have I been more inspired and determined to strengthen my muscles as I get older. I have no intention to not stay strong. I need me.

READING

  • Still ‘studying’ A History of Everything by Bill Bryson. Best book, besides “Don’t Know Much About Mythology” by Kenneth Davis I’ve ever read—as far as a learning book.
  • Started new book, Packing for Mars, but just can’t get into it. Am enjoying reading Bill Bryson’s The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America. He is just dry and witty and funny and intelligent and…love Bill Bryson.

WEIGHT 128

  • Have pulled back eating heavy at night. Doing better. Determined to come back down nearer to 130.

 ORGANIC FARMING / Farmer Gadd Chronicles

  • Green beans are up!! And, so far, nothing has eaten the new sprouts!! Am getting ready to put in okra, more peppers, eggplant, more beans, watermelon, cantaloupe and replant squash!!
  • Onions and radishes are glorious!! Tomatoes slow to start, but they’re coming along 😉

WRITE 1 LETTER A WEEK

Been taking time to call my mom more. Have not written so much. Just been ‘out of the mood’. That has got to change. With letter writing—it is such a heart thing that I don’t know how to treat it as a “must do” thing. Still, it seems that if I don’t set a ‘goal’, that it just doesn’t get done. Any suggestions on this discipline thing, fellow listers??

KEEP HOUSE ORGANIZED

  • Spent an hour and a half cleaning bathroom. Trying hard to stay on top of things. It’s getting easier. Love the calmness of things clean.

COOK NEW RECIPE each week

  • Have not done this. Just too scattered and disinterested and impatient when I am hungry. Too distracted to take time to plan a meal. Help!

New additions to my Life List:

  • Buy a little pull-trailer and boat and go to the lake with my family (sister and her kids).
  • Go kayaking
  • Revisit the Rocky Mts. in Colorado and go canoeing
  • Retire and live on a small boat docked at Old Hickory Lake in the summer and at a fish camp trailer in Florida in the winter
  • Travel to Machu Piccu
  • Travel to Rome
  • Visit Greece and see the Parthenon
  • Visit the Great Pyramids

Life Lessons from the Library: Be An Archaeologist of Your Own Life

This May, we are beginning the ritual of reading the shelves. We make sure books have been shelved properly through the year, find the lost ones, and put them back in their proper places. We also then weed out the out-of-date and the tattered.

The weeding is not a job universally loved. Some think we remove too many books; some think we remove too few. And then we have all those discarded materials to withdraw, pack up, and surplus. Still, it’s an important job, one that keeps the collection current.

As I started reading my set of shelves this week, I noticed that there is a historical element to the task. I came across books that were remnants of degrees that we no longer have. On another shelf, I found five copies of a book that was once a favorite assignment of a professor who has now moved to a university in another state.

Just by looking at the shelves, I can get a sense of where the college has been and where it’s going. Our ever-shrinking technical section reflects the rapid pace of technological change and the need to have  information in a format that can keep pace with those changes. Like most libraries, we have gone to ebooks and databases for most of our computer and technical areas. Just as telling are the ever-increasing number of literature, history, philosophy, music, and art books that show our change from a technical institute to a community college nine years ago.

I wondered what my own book collection says about me. The number of classics and especially Victorian novels quickly identifies me as a nerd (and proud of it). The smaller collection of time management books, with copyright dates from almost all years of my adult life, identifies me as a chronic procrastinator.

Then there are the hobby books; these are books that I buy after I decide that I want to try something new and, being a book geek, think the only way to do that is to read up on the subject: There are books on learning French and Italian. I have a mini-collection of books on the histories of various countries from the time I thought I should be more aware of other cultures. I still think this but have found that I have limited patience for military and government accounts of the past. There are the barely-opened cooking and gardening books bought soon after I moved into my condo when I thought that maybe the only reason I hadn’t been more interested in these topics before was that I was a renter. It turned out that supposition was wrong. There are the books on Judaism, Buddhism, and monasticism from my religious searching period.

I look back now and some of the books seem to belong to a different person. Still, I have affection for them all and the person who needed them at the time. 

Of course, when you do a “dig” of your own life, it may not be books that mark various periods: It could be music, art, pictures, flowers, trips, or even people. Still, usually it’s an interesting experience examining the artifacts that have made a life so far. I heartily recommend it, even if not all the discoveries bring smiles.

Monday Motivator: Change What You Can!

Last week, one of my colleagues disagreed with my motivator, arguing that we were more likely to say that things couldn’t change simply as an excuse for not changing. Of course, the wisdom part of the serenity prayer is knowing the difference between what can and can’t be changed in our lives.

Being in education should, by default, mean that we believe in and are committed to change. We believe that education can change lives for the better, and most of us have seen evidence of that.

Still, many of us don’t make needed changes in our lives, and we have to admit that it’s because change is hard. We tend to blame others for our lack of change. During the years, I’ve heard the following reasons for why people haven’t lost weight: They have kids. They have spouses. They don’t have spouses. They have time-consuming jobs that won’t let them get to the gym. They have annoying colleagues that drive them to eat out of frustration. They have mothers who won’t let them not eat a brownie.

You get the picture. The one thing the excuses ignore is that other people with the very same problem have lost weight.

The other equally wrong excuse for not changing is always blaming yourself. And, if you’re like me, you’ve probably done your share of saying things like this as well: I have no willpower. I’m just lazy. I’m just useless when it comes to working out. And so on.

But research shows that’s really not true either.

Sure, we’re the only ones who can change our habits, but it helps to have a structure in place that ensures we’re not just depending on willpower. So what would be some aspects of such a structure?

  • care about this change.
  • learn how to make the change by learning 
    • smaller skills that will build up to the big change we want to make.
    • how to work with setbacks.
    • to build up willpower.
  • surround ourselves with supportive people, or, at least, with people who won’t actively try to  sabotage our efforts.
  • build in rewards along the way, and
  • modify the environment to make things easier.

These components are important whether we’re tying to lose weight or facilitate change in underachieving students. I recommend the book Change Anything by Patterson, Grenny, Maxfield, McMillan, and Switzler for more concrete examples on how to make changes. At their website, you can also take an assessment that shows your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to making a change.

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The Jolly Librarian Advises New Graduates

Each year, I like to watch snippets of commencement addresses given at various universities as their students go out in the world. Such speeches always fill me with optimism about the future. So I thought why wait until I am asked to give one? Here is the Jolly Librarian’s advice for 2011 graduates:

  • Be determined to succeed. Studies show that it’s not just intelligence that determines success, it’s determination. Develop the ability to keep going after setbacks. Don’t be embarrassed by your mistakes. Learn from them and move on.
  • Determine your own definition of success and live up to it. Too often, we try to live up to our parents’, our friends’, or our cultures’ definitions of what it means to be successful. Sure, you can buy the car that makes people on the street drool, but if this not really how you measure success, then the thrill will wear off pretty quickly. Think about what makes YOU happy and fulfilled and then go for it. 
  • Live within your means. Credit is easy in our culture, but paying it off is not. One of the few things I know for sure in life is that there is a great deal of comfort and peace in knowing that you can pay your bills each month. So start now in making a commitment to paying off debt if you have it and not accruing it if you don’t.
  • Never stop learning. College, in many ways, is not the end of your learning experience, but the beginning. If your professors have done their jobs well, you have become critical thinkers who know how to learn independently. Use those skills for the rest of your life. Learn a new language, a new computer program, or a new tennis swing. Learning keeps your brain sharp and makes you a more interesting person. 
  • Play everyday. I have a five-year-old friend who, of course, does this naturally. I can’t visit her for more than a few minutes without our going on the swing, playing dolls, or having a dance concert. It’s easy to lose that sense of play. But don’t. In fact, this year, at my advanced age, the Jolly Librarian has developed a picture-of-the-day game on Facebook. Everyday I post a picture of myself, usually in some absurd situation. Is it dignified? No. Is it fun? Yes.
  • And the most important thing is to enjoy the ride. Time will go by fast, and in a rush to start careers and families, it’s sometimes easy to let the days slip by. Experience each day as it comes, and try not to spend time wishing that things were different. Wishing is not work. If things do need to be different, determine to make them so.

And take time to celebrate your accomplishment. You’ve earned it!

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The Library Life Listers: It Takes Time . . .

One of The Onion fake news stories for today is titled Redwood Tree Completes 300-Year Plan To Lean Slightly To Left. It’s good to have goals, but too many of us think we are redwood trees with centuries to get things done. So we put off things over and over again until we find that we have let time run out. So while we’re in between semesters, I urge you to take a look at the fun, meaningful things you’ve put off because you were too busy with work stuff and re-commit yourself to some things on your bucket list during this slower period.

Here are our lists:

Allison: (Jolly Librarian comment: As the wedding draws closer, Allison is putting more effort there and less elsewhere. This is actually a very smart strategy.)

  • an excellent (flute) performance at my little brother’s wedding in May

Rehearsal last Thursday went well. We met with my almost-sister-in-law Monday evening to let her hear what we’ve prepared, and we got a better idea of what she wants next weekend. She’s still finalizing decisions on music for the ceremony, but my accompanist friend and I both feel well-prepared for anything she decides, and Laura liked everything she heard.

  • translate the book of Esther

I may have done a verse or two. (I don’t remember.)

Pam:

PERFORMING

  • Have let myself go of thinking about it…other than trying to book the Station Inn via WSM night. I got no reply from the dj who hosts it. Again, my self-esteem is boosted.
  • Have let myself pull weeds and forget about everything for awhile. I find the nagging desire to perform so overwhelming that I’ve now decided I want to join an already existing band or reunite my old band, Wild Rose. We’ll see…

WALKING

  • Been taking the steps in the library everyday—up, down, up, down—instead of the tempting elevator. I can’t believe how much better I feel to have been shifting books, lifting, squatting, etc. It really DOES help one’s overall daily strength – to stay active. Need to get out and walk daily. I don’t know why I won’t make the time. I hear my sister’s voice echoing in my mind “If you want change, you’ve got to change.”….true

READING

  • Still glued to listening to A History of Everything by Bill Bryson. Love it. He is so smart.

WEIGHT 128

Am back in control, allowing some sugars, but controlling. I’m slimming down some.

  • Does getting my hair cut count as trimming down??
  • Am eating better foods. Still eat too many carbs, and have allowed myself some sugar again. I don’t know what happened…oh, yes, I remember…I  was stressed about the music…eating brought carbohydrate comfort. STILL – I eat good foods, too. It’s like this…I can’t not be aware. I read “The Pritikin Promise” when I was 21, and the descriptions of white flour, sugar, etc. truly impacted my life forever. I think I will always take good care of myself….I hope.

 ORGANIC FARMING / Farmer Gadd Chronicles

  • Have nicknamed my ‘farm’ “Pig Pen Produce”, appropriately. I am a filthy farm girl. Still, “Pam’s Produce Patch” is growing nicely. Am now entertaining thoughts of setting up a little stand this summer and selling some veggies on the weekends 😉
  • On a down note, something ate all of my newly sprouted cucumber and yellow squash plants. I swear! I am off to purchase more fencing tonight…

WRITE 1 LETTER A WEEK

I’ve just not felt I had anything to say…

KEEP HOUSE ORGANIZED

  • Doing fairly well here. It’s tough for me, but I’m really doing better. ..

COOK NEW RECIPE each week

  • Wound up purchasing rotisserie chicken and eating on it each late night coming in. On the weekend worked hard and had no desire to cook. Again, I just am “not in the mood”. Hum…. I am eating raw foods at night a lot. Last night ate avacado wrapped in raw cabbage leaves. Very good and fresh and hydrating. Have been eating lots of fruit popcycles…hum, wonder why my ‘roll’ is returning around my middle? I feel pudgy. White and pudgy. Pudgy, pudgy, pudgy…

PIANO

  • Contemplated heading toward my office and playing. Just didn’t…perhaps it was that I can’t walk through my office…or perhaps it was…Yes, it was this. I felt, ‘oh, what difference would it make?’ sort  of… I need to work on that attitude.

HIKING

  • Forget hiking, I want to go kayaking!! Allison went kayaking! I want to go, too! Must set goal to work fun physical activity into my life. Okay, promise (sort of like) to schedule something by next posting to go do something!

 CLAWHAMMER BANJO 

 Picked the other night with an old friend and learned some new clawhammer songs (old songs I finally sort of learned), along with an old Uncle Dave Macon song. Really really fun.

New additions to my Life List:

  • Buy a little pull-trailor and boat and go to the lake with my family (sister and her kids).
  • Set a goal and break it into small goals and create steps to my goal. Any suggestions?
  • Go kayaking
  • Revisit the Rocky Mts. in Colorado and go canoeing
  • Retire and live on a small boat docked at Old Hickory Lake in the summer and at a fish camp trailer in Florida in the winter
  • Travel to Machu Piccu
  • Travel to Rome
  • Visit Greece and see the Parthenon
  • Visit the Great Pyramids
  • Hike to Base Camp at Mt. Everest with Charles).

Emily:

Learn French: Started my LiveMocha French course. Not doing very well at pronunciation. Eric doesn’t like all the French men reviewing my “role plays.”

Cook a new dish and/or pie each week/Cook dinner for friends/family more often: Hosted Mother’s Day brunch. Made the following *new* recipes: breakfast strata, strawberry tartine, chocolate zucchini cake, basil mint cucumber soda.

Grow vegetable garden and herb garden: Most everything is planted — now I will watch my garden grow (or get eaten by cicadas).

Write fewer sentence fragments: Not yet.

(New item added by Jolly Librarian: Emily disagreed with my blog entry and said that if I wanted to learn to sing, I could. Therefore, I am adding this item to Emily’s list: Teach Margaret Faye to sing.)

The Jolly Librarian:

Learn French: Still listening to my tapes; plan to join LiveMocha with Emily. Since I don’t have a husband,  I do not expect any domestic turmoil during this part.

Reading: Am now on page 300 of Les Miserables. SPOILER ALERT: At this point, our protagonist was in jail almost 20 years, stole from a bishop and a peasant, became a mayor, was disovered as the criminal, and is about to go to jail again. And I still have more than 800 pages to go. What else can happen to this poor man?

Writing: Am still working on my purgatory story. Think I will have to throw out quite a bit. But that’s how I write. One page kept, ten pages gone.

Life Lessons from the Library: Learn to Say Goodbye

Graduation is tonight, and I will watch another group of students go on to jobs or universities. It’s always a bittersweet moment. I’m glad that they’ve accomplished a goal. And I’m glad that they are setting new goals and making plans to achieve them.

But I will miss them. This year, we have several students who are leaving. Lida and Homa left for Belmont University in December. They were usually in the library studying, and they occasionally asked for literature research help. Sheeba is also graduating tonight. She has worked as a student tutor and calls the library her second home. She studies here, and after she started tutoring, she also ate at our back table to give herself a short reprieve from science and math questions. Also, student worker Mike is leaving. He’s not officially graduating but has enough credits to go on to pursue his goal of dental school.

Then there are the ones that I don’t know personally, but recognize from their time in the library. During graduation, it is often the first time I put a name to a face. But I will think, “Oh, that is the woman who always smiles when she comes in the door.” Or “That is the young guy who always checks out the Differential Equations book.” Or even, “That’s the student who always kept the Chemistry book too long, and we had to go hunt him down in the Learning Center.”  For most of these students, our contact was regular but brief, just a wave or a friendly few words as they were checking out books, or a quick answer to some citation questions.  Still, it was enough for us to feel a sense of community, a sense of belonging to each other and to this college.

It is the nature of my job  to always be in the process of saying goodbye. Students come for only a short time, make an impression, and then move on. It is the way it should be. And I’ve learned a lot from them as I’ve tried to help them through their academic, and sometimes personal, hardships and celebrated their successes when they shared them. It is a most fortunate job I have, and I never fail to appreciate it.

Even when it’s bittersweet, as it is tonight, as I say goodbye to another group of graduates.

I wish you all luck and happiness!

Monday Motivator: Accept What You Can’t Change

I saw my first cicada of the season yesterday. To be more accurate, I saw my first several hundred. They apparently had been in the ground under a friend’s tree. And now there are thousands of cicada shells surrounding the tree. And if you look closely at the trunk, you quickly realize that you’re more likely looking at cicadas than tree bark.

The response of our group was divided. One of my friends was enthralled by them. He went around the trees, examining them and picking up a few to put on his arm.  The children, who were not alive the last time the cicadas emerged, were mostly afraid of them. In fact, one little girl burst into tears when my cicada-carrying friend came too close.

Her dad rescued her, but said, “If you’re freaked out today, then you’re in for a rough few weeks ahead.”

Granted, for a five-year-old, cicadas probably seem like they’re right out of a horror movie. Thousands of them, red-eyed, noisy, and apparently ready to drop out of a tree and into hair at any moment, it’s a nightmare come to life. Still, the father was not being unsympathetic. They’re scary but not dangerous. And unless, he kept her inside for the next six or so weeks, there really wasn’t much he could do to protect her from them. Her only real protection would be in her attitude toward them.

Now, this might be asking a bit too much of a pre-schooler. Still, it reminded me of how much time we often spend battling things that simply can’t be changed instead of changing what can be.

A friend once told me about how mad her mother became at her father every Sunday. He wanted to watch football; she wanted to go somewhere. So every Sunday, he watched television while she muttered and groused in another room. Apparently, it never occurred to her that she could simply take the keys to the car and go somewhere herself. My friend, long an adult now, still marvels at how miserable those Sundays were and how her mother preferred being angry at her father than taking the reins of her own happiness.

Of course, it can be a hard lesson to learn. I love to sing; I would love to be able to make people happy with songs I’ve written and performed. There’s only one problem. I have a horrible voice. In fact, recently, I was helping pick out songs for a memorial service. I was singing snippets of songs by Elton John, so my friend could decide which one to include on the playlist. After three attempts, someone gently pointed out that all three songs sounded the same and none sounded remotely like anything Elton John had ever sung. Now I guess I could have spent many years attempting to sing and being the ‘joke’ contestant on American Idol, or I could accept that was not my talent and develop the talents I did have. I chose the latter path, and fewer people (including myself) have suffered.

Like the cicadas, events will appear in our lives that we can’t do much about. We don’t necessarily have to like those things, but accepting their inevitability does make their existence more bearable.