Thursday, August 21, 2014

Joan Didion's packing list

Meetings, meeting, and more meetings this week. I'll be heading out soon for another meeting, and as I drive I'll be thinking about my packing list for Germany! 2.5 weeks of travel packing! Any time I pack for a real vacation--not a I'm going home to Michigan for the weekend trip--I think of Joan Didion's packing list. Maybe I'll share my packing list before I go, but it WILL NOT be as epic as this. I generally don't travel with a mohair throw, my typewriter, or bourbon...

2 skirts
2 jerseys or leotards
1 pullover sweater
2 pair shoes
nightgown, robe, slippers
bag with: shampoo
toothbrush and paste
Basis soap, razor
face cream
baby oil

mohair throw
2 legal pads and pens
house key

“This is a list which was taped inside my closet door in Hollywood during those years when I was reporting more or less steadily. The list enabled me to pack, without thinking, for any piece I was likely to do. Notice the deliberate anonymity of costume: in a skirt, a leotard, and stockings, I could pass on either side of the culture. Notice the mohair throw for trunk-line flights (i.e. no blankets) and for the motel room in which the air conditioning could not be turned off. Notice the bourbon for the same motel room. Notice the typewriter for the airport, coming home: the idea was to turn in the Hertz car, check in, find an empty bench, and start typing the day’s notes.”

—Joan Didion, The White Album

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

worky schmorky, where's vacation!?

Been so busy lately. Feels like I can't catch up on work because I've had to cover the desk more due to illnesses and vacation days. Back in my office for a full day yesterday and finally caught up on
  • Purchase Orders
  • Budget stuff,
  • Book orders
  • Tidying up my office (TONS of books ready for the FRIENDS used book sale in September!)
  • Financial Subcommittee work for a board I'm on
Now if I could just get super motivated and creative enough to start putting together my Powerpoint for my OLC Conference presentation. I'd like to have a good chunk of it done, but knowing me, I'll get inspired post-vacation when I'm rested and really feel the less-than-a-month-until-my-presentation-panic!

I just need to get to vacation. So hard to be at work!

Monday, August 4, 2014

encouraging STEM loving kids

The big push in libraries and schools these days is S.T.E.M. (or S.T.E.A.M.) based curriculum
Science, Technology, Engineering, (Art if it's STEAM), Math--since we're apparently behind other countries in our math and science proficiencies. We began weekly S.T.E.M. projects last summer reading, keeping them on as periodic after school programs, and again as weekly events during this summer reading. Anything can be fun if you get creative; we've:
  • Built nuclei from candy
  • Built structures out of toothpicks and marshmallows and then tested their withstandability to a simulated earthquake--this simulated by placing structure on a bed of Jello in a pan and me shaking the hell out of it. The kids thought this was AMAZING.
  • Built structures to protect raw eggs, then dropped the eggs from 8 feet in the air to see how strong the structure was in protecting the contents
  • Created robots from household materials like yogurt cups and aluminum foil
  • Etc...
What makes something S.T.E.M.? Activities that introduce concepts of math, science, engineering, and technology to the kids. Anything that forces the kids to problem solve, work together, build, use their hands and brains to intuit. So many of our kids are so buried in their tech devices that I love just standing back and watching how they fumble through the work we give them, watch how they work together. S.T.E.M. activities are as important to these kiddos social development as it is to their mental development.

Anyway, I'll get down from my soapbox to share these two MARVELOUS, STUPENDOUS, FUNNY, GRAND, DELIGHTFUL, AWESOME (see how much I love them!) books that encourage S.T.E.M. and encourage strong, free thinking kiddos. Super pumped to give, Rosie Revere, Engineer, to my niece (since my brother is also an engineer)!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

O.A.R. "Peace" Official Audio

Damn, OAR, I. LOVE. This.

This song makes me want a cool morning under a warm blanket, snuggling with a boy I love spending my weekends with...

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. :)