Thursday, October 20, 2011


Is it weird to be appreciative?

This week especially, I've been in awe of how much my life is better because of the people around.

I have a boss who lets me take time off of work to do another job. She encourages me to pursue professional service opportunities. She seriously looks out for my best interest. In one of my library classes, we've been talking about how you alone are responsible for your career advancements. And in the end, that's true. You succeed and fail on your own merits. You do the job, write the articles, serve on committees by yourself. But to have a boss who supports those tasks, whose leadership enables rather than inhibits those projects--that's priceless.

So while I'm thinking about my future career, while I'm realizing in my class that my life can be much harder, you bet I'm going to end my daily chat with my boss by saying, "Thank you. I'm glad you're my boss, and I'm grateful for all your support."

I have a mentor who thinks I'm great. Sometimes, I don't feel so great. I haven't achieved what I've hoped to achieve. I feel like I've made the best with what I have. And it's kind of ordinary, but that's fine. However, my mentor, she's finding more opportunities. She sees potential in me that I don't even know existed. It's the real life example of this post (which I thought was kind of dumb when I first read it, but okay I get it now).

So I find out today that she's been in this position where I encountered her as my mentor for 20 years. That's 20 years of people she's taught, touched, and mentored. I know I'm not unique. I know other people appreciate her. So I send a thank you email. I email a few others about the milestone. It's what you do for people who mean so much to you.

I work in a law library. Law students are exceptionally busy and usually stressed out. So today I've let a student know he's okay for staying in a study room, tracked another student down to give him his flash drive, given a law review student access to the copier to reproduce way too many pages, used my four years (FOUR YEARS!!) of knowledge of this library in countless ways. And people have been unusually grateful. They've said thank you, been surprised, gotten those big smiles that are real. (Did you know that when you mimic a smile to tell if it's genuine or not? It's true!)

It's felt weird. Good. But weird. So it leads me to wonder, do I notice the appreciation because I am appreciative? Do we always appreciate each other but we just don't notice? Do I just need to take more time to express my appreciation? Because there are people in my life who just make life easier. And God knows how much I appreciate them, and I guess they should too.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Enduring Impact of Childhood Reading

My favorite memory (or collection of memories) was bedtime reading with my dad. We'd sit in his recliner. (The one we replaced just last year for his birthday.) And he'd read a chapter from The Chronicles of Narnia and Mr. Twig's Big Mistake. Were there more? I don't remember though there must have been. How long did it go on? Not past 4th grade (we moved that year), but it endures in my memory.

Later in my childhood, I loved The Babysitters' Club books. (I hope FYA brings back their reviews!) The stacks of them that I checked out are one of my first real library memories. I read quite of a bit of Nancy Drew and borrowed some of those books from an aunt. My mom introduced to be Mrs. Polifax. I still look for Mrs. Polifax books and really need to add them to our collection. I wonder if they're in e-book format. I most recently read The Unexpected Mrs. Polifax one night at my grandma's when the power went out and I had quite effectively freaked myself out.

When I started college, I freaked out on syllabus day and plunged into the Chronicles of Narnia for the next three days. When I emerged on the other side of The Last Battle, life was better. It then became my habit to reread Narnia every fall at the beginning of school.

The morning after we moved to Cincinnati, Mike went out with his family and I found Target and bought Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

The books of my childhood helped me figure out how to cope with my adult life. It's scary out there, but if the characters of my childhood can make it to the end of their books successfully, I can make it too.

I've crossposted at Via Scribendi.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Just Google It

My husband taught me how to google. When we were dating, I'd ask him random questions and he'd come back with the correct answers. Either he was a genius or he had a trick. Now, Mike's really smart, but in this case, the trick was Google. I learned that if I wanted to be (or to appear) as smart as he was, I should start googling.

Since then Google and I have been involved in a serious love affair. Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Reader, Google Docs, Blogger. I use and love them all.

There's a problem though. See, I'm getting my masters degree in Library and Information Science, and somewhere deep within the Librarian's Code of Honor, there must be something about hating Google. It teaches people bad search practices. It makes people think that's all there is to the Internet (which is always capitalized by the way). Even worse, it makes people think libraries are unnecessary. :-( Poor, poor libraries.

That said, I'm not giving up Google. I have drunk too much of the koolaid. (FYI I just googled "participles drink have" to figure out that grammar.) But I feel bound by my maybe future profession to provide some helpful links.
  • First A-Google-A-Day. Each day, Google presents a research question and you have to figure out the best way to get the answer. It's a really interesting lesson in how much you put your own knowledge into analyzing Google results. And logic puzzle!!! Awesome.
  • Second, Google for Educator Lesson Plans. Ever feel like you could use google better if someone just taught you how? Google felt that way too so they came up with some lesson plans. They're specifically designed for the classroom, but hey everyone likes to learn right? (I just realized how small my world is when my first inclination to answer that is a sincere yes.)
Now on to the fun stuff. I've had my current Google account for 3 1/2 years. And when I'm logged in Google tracks my search stats. Awesome, I know. So over those 1000+ days, what have I googled most often?

TV listings tonight. An obvious sign of my lack of cable and its lovely guide feature.

Sigh. So highbrow. I also commonly pulled out my laptop to look up actors on IMDB. It's actually really hard for me to make it through a show without using my laptop. But it's so interesting!

Also randomly on my top ten are two addresses that I have no clue about. So there might be a flaw in the rankings. :-)

However, in the wee hours of the morning, I'm most likely to google WebMD. Ah the joys of self diagnosis.

And finally most impressive of all. I've googled 6,532 times (when I was logged into my account) since March 1, 2008.

It's been good times, Google. One day, I really should delete all that history. :-)

My google adventures are crossposted at the writing adventure Via Scribendi.