Friday, August 1, 2014

the open road (in Europe) soon

Going out of town the last 3 weekends has been lots of helpful practice for when I go to Germany in LESS THAN A MONTH!!! Lots of opportunities for how/what I am going to pack, and what I am now deeming unnecessary.

Last year when this was still a pipe dream, Yannick, Magdalena and I were talking about what I'd like to see if I made it to Germany. Me, the ever crazy one blurted out, "EVERYTHING. I want to see as many countries as I can, in the time I have with you." We laughed about this not too long ago, until we got to talking in a Facebook message between the 3 of us where we all agreed that we'd be game for an EPIC roadtrip. I LOVE roadtrips. They are one of my absolute favorite things on the planet. And doing it with some of my friends IN EUROPE! Could my life be any better!?!?

So, I read travel books and make half-assed notes in my journal. I shock people when they saw, "So, what are you going to see? Which cities are you going to hit up" to which I reply, "I'm not really sure. Honestly, I don't really care what I see as long as I'm in Europe and I'm with my friends."

This drives people nuts. I think that many of us Americans are Type-A travelers who need a sense of agenda. No time wasted. Cram, cram, cram it all in. And believe me, I'm not above it, I've done it, but looking back on those vacations (Australia, 1996), I realized that the most sacred moments that will still be with me when I'm 90 years old were the pure, unscripted moments--seeing the Milky Way and Southern Cross above us as we lay in the dirt in the Outback; an impromptu hike on an all coral beach. So, as I spend my final weeks not planning, other than which music to burn onto CD, since the car we'll be driving isn't iPhone compatible but has an old CD player, I choose to focus instead on getting ahead at work and making sure my house is stocked for the Armageddon in cat food and litter.

Has anyone out there done a roadtrip in Europe? And if so, what route did you follow? 

Found this really fun list of tips for travelers.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

library renovations 101

We are very fortunate in our consortium that we can reach out to over 80 other libraries/directors, etc. when we have questions, I did just that when the Board gave the go-ahead for our expansion project. I emailed all the directors and asked that others share their renovation architects if they liked who'd done the work. Like most things, you cast a large net, and only gather a few fish--in my case I heard back from 3 libraries and 2 of them both had had wonderful experience with the same architectural firm out of Columbus.

Monday as soon as I arrived back from Chicago, Prairie Dawn, a board member and I piled into my car and headed 2+ hours south east to look at one of the two libraries that recommended this Columbus firm. It was interesting to hear her experience, snap photos of things we liked, ask as to why/how they did certain unique things, etc.

What I'm learning about going through renovations/expansions in a library:
  • Go out and look around, not only at recently renovated spaces, but as many spaces similar to your type of business
  • Think about your space: if you're a small library look at how other small libraries utilize their nooks and crannies; how do larger libraries make their enormous space not seem so cavernous and unusable? 
  • Take notes as to what you do and don't like
  • Take lots of pictures--I have a file on my desktop called library stuff I love--so that when the architectural/design team comes back with 5 million questions you have a better sense of the things you think will work 
  • Stay in contact with the directors/libraries that were willing to show you around, reach out to them with more questions
  • Ask other folks who've gone through a renovation if they learned any helpful tricks to help in your process
  • Take up meditation/deep breathing/yoga, as these things will feel like the only way you can keep your shit together--this said by me before we've even chosen an architectural firm. :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

big city *sigh*

This weekend with Chicago Boy was woooooonderrrrrful and so hard to come back to work from--at least this is only a 3 day week, as I have a 4 day weekend in Michigan coming up Friday!

Chicago Boy and I:
Skillet apple pie. Tasted
a lot better than it looks. :)
  • Went to Lou Malnati's for a pizza celebrating his recent birthday
  • I made him my first homemade apple pie. We loved it and gobbled it up in just over a day with copious amounts of ice cream. I had forgotten my pie pan and since he didn't have one I wound up Googling skillet apple pie recipes--basically the spiced apples in a buttered pan with crust only on top. Hands down DELICIOUS. 
  • Had a Lord of the Rings-a-thon all day Saturday. Staying in pjs and air conditioning on a muggy day was fine by me.
  • Grilled dinner on Saturday
  • Swim practice getting cancelled Sunday morning meant more sleep and making breakfast together
  • A PERFECT Sunday--forecasted rain be damned. We had baby blue skies and puffy clouds for my first trip to Wrigley Field to see the Cubbies lose to the St. Louis Cardinals, 1-0. We were under an awning, so no sunburns, but lots of breezy wonderfulness. This year marks Wrigley Field's 100th year. So cool to be in such a historic place!
  • See how pretty our drive in to Chicago was?!
  • A trip into the city to find the elusive, not at all elusive Bean, that I've walked by about a dozen times--don't ask me how!

Chicago Boy, oh so patient, as I snap photos

The Bean with the beautiful background of Michigan Ave.
This is one of my FAVORITE big city streets.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Jummy Fallon gets it!

Off for a 3.5 day weekend, heading to Chicago to catch a Cubs game. YAY! I love the city, and this time I'm really hoping that I will be able to see the damn, elusive BEAN! Somehow I've missed it every time I've been there!


Thursday, July 24, 2014

bookshelves and building on

Speaking of building: before I started at Sticks Library an expansion project had begun, before eventually meeting it's demise after a Cleveland-based architectural firm went way overboard and way over budget. The Board at the time put the kabash on things. Fast forward 2+ years later to present day Sticks Library; we've outgrown the space--we had over 1,200 people at our Summer Reading programs and had to do all of our bigger programs elsewhere!--and the Board feels that because of the positive feedback they've gotten since I started (can you say, THAT WAS AWESOME TO HEAR!?) and because I've made such a huge programming push and we don't have the space, now is the time for trying the expansion project again.

So, working with Sticks College engineering students who used us as a capstone project, we were able to get a new layout of how best to utilize our current space, while adding on roughly half of our current size. We loved their drawings, and the Board voted unanimously to proceed. So, I threw an email out to all the directors I know, asking for recommendations of a firm to use. Two libraries responded with the same recommendation; Board President and I met with him (I hope we go with them--I love this guy already!), talked shop, and will move forward with interviewing other possible firms, probably closer to back-to-school time. Next week 2 Board members, Prairie Dawn, and I are going to go look at an expansion project that this fellow did. PUMPED!

So, we've begun our slllllooooow march toward building on. I know that once building starts happening one day, I'll miss the stillness of this part of the project, but I am just so damn anxious to get things underway!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

personalized and awesome present

This freaking PERSONALIZED Sandra Boynton book WITH PHOTOS OF YOUR KIDDO IN IT popped up in my newsfeed on Facebook and then again in one of the ads here on my blog.I am totally getting this for 1st birthday presents for all of my little monkeys this year! All of my friends and sibs LOVE Sandra Boynton, so this is pretty AWESOME.

Made my day!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

no library post, just FAMILY

My 5 nieces in nephews, Thanksgiving 2013 with my Mom and A1.
Yes, I'm the cool Aunt who buys mustaches for the kids.

Then nephew Alex joined us in February. This weekend was
not only about his Baptism, it was also about half our family
meeting him for the first time--including all of this cousins.
Who LOVE babies.
Which meant lots of cute photos: Alex with cousin Gala
Alex with cousin Noah
I think the boys love having another boy in the family--Aidan pointed out
that now the boys are tied with the girls (I am 1 of 4 kids: 2 boys, 2 girls;
each of my siblings has 2 kids: 1 girl, 1 boy)
Savannah was so excited to have some big kids to play with--her
baby brother does laugh at her now, and roll over,
but he isn't as fun as these monkeys: Syd and Aidan

Gala, Syd, Noah, Savannah

The girls: Gala, Syd, and Savannah with her Dad--my
brother is such a good Dad. It's been interesting
to watch my sibs become parents.

 The time with my family was wonderful; coming back to work after 4 days off was hard, but I have a 3.5 day weekend this coming weekend, so NO COMPLAINTS (the Board owed me 5.5 days off after all the hours I put in covering vacations during Summer Reading, so lots of long weekends!)