Tag: incredibly-patient-mother

Hedgehog on the Move

It is with not a small amount excitement that I announce that I’ve accepted a new position.

I’m moving back to Chicago to join the Health Sciences Library at the University of Illinois, Chicago (Circle) Campus. I will be an Assistant Professor and Assistant Information Services Librarian.

*celebratory dance*

This will come with all sorts of new missions, goals and challenges.  It’s academic, tenure-track and I’m back full time with medicine. I’m very excited to get to be working with people I had the opportunity to meet during my interview and a few names I’ve seen around the medlib world.  My start date is December 1, 2010.

I’ve had a lot of help and support getting to this point.  Madame Director, Madame Storyteller, the Reference Queen, Warmaiden, Sir Shuping, Sibling-the-Elder, M, the Incredibly Patient Mother, the Blonde and Brunette, Vaa, Gypsy, Rudy, Rothman and many others have held my hand, helped me get ready, read cover letters, been references, listened to me, and just been there.  I would not be where I am without others belief in me.

My to do lists have just tripled as all of the “when I get time” stuff turns into “has to be done before…” but I hope to get to blog more–it’s been so hard keeping secrets about all this when I’ve been so excited.

Here I go!

Saturation and Patience, or a Lack Thereof…

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful

—William Morris

I complained to coworkers this spring that I knew it had been too long since I had moved. I could tell because I had too much stuff in my apartment. Nothing triggers a cleaning out spree like having to pack up everything I own, haul it up/down stairs (there are always stairs) and then unpack it and say “why on earth did I move THIS!”  It’ s been a relief to not move for a couple of years–I’m sure the post office is grateful for the brief respite of forwarding addresses–but the clutter has piled up.

I’ve been working on cleaning out clothes I don’t wear. Having all those options is great, but I need to be realistic about what I’m actually putting on in the morning. I don’t feel too much guilt about getting rid of tank tops I was wearing junior year of college or pants that aren’t flattering that I was keeping because they mostly fit.  I’ve actually found one style/cut/size of professional pants that really fits and I stalk them on Ebay.

Book weeding is a bigger challenge for me.  I have quite a lot of them and despite increasing e-book availability, an excellent public library, and strong ILL capacities, I still end up over at Amazon, filling my cart. Or I’ll glut buy at Half-Priced Books with the Incredibly-Patient-Mother and Siblings-the-Elder/Younger or the library book sale, or Paperbackswap or or or…. And then I want to keep 90% of them forever and ever and they are mine and I want to continue showing my love of them by having all of them on my bookshelves.*

Now I’m trying to do some similar things in my digital world. While I appreciate the various filters and such that I can put in place, I do have to put a limit on how much time I can pour into blogs of cute animals, helpful financial newsletters, library stream stuff, and just how many people I feel that I can effectively follow on Twitter, Friendfeed, RSS feeds, etc.

And the easiest thing to weed/block first? Much like the junk mail that does still appear in my snailbox –advertisements are the first to go.  I have a yahoo account that I use for clothing stores, book stores, random other places that want an email address. Like the clothes I’m not wearing, I can easily toss things that aren’t a part of my current life or just don’t fit well enough into who I am and what I’m doing today.

Harder is pruning the twitter feed, facebook wall updates, and RSS feeds. I have things categorized within about an inch of their lives–but it seems that everytime I turn around there’s something new and interesting to add. Sometimes I just hit a point of frustration and the hide/unsubscribe function is used quite liberally. I’ve had two of those this week.

Situation 1: I was getting near daily emails from an Avon rep–even after making use of the unsubscribe button.  That is a huge pet peeve of mine and I’ve taken several websites to task about it**. If I hit “unsubscribe” and you confirm it–then I shouldn’t get another email from you. I certainly shouldn’t get 5-10 more emails from you. It shouldn’t take a week to purge me out of your system.  Frustrated when yet another email showed up–I sent a rather sharp email to the rep. Things have gone quiet, hopefully on a permanent level.

Situation 2: Selling me stuff on my social networks when that’s not the implied relationship. I have strong respect for freelancers. I am one. I appreciate needing to develop your brand, build your business, remind people you are there. It’s part of my library job and my freelance work and everything else that I do.  But if your Facebook page was set up to be social–not commercial–I grow quickly weary of repetitive sales pitches and invitations to pyramid schemes.

I expect commercials from some of the author pages, yarn stores, yarn owners, etc that I follow. The purpose of their pages is to promote their product(s) and I accept that when I choose to follow them. But I elected to follow people I know from high school/college in an attempt to keep up socially–not commercially–with them.

I opened a can of worms on Facebook by stating that I was hiding people who I perceived to only be selling stuff. Almost instantly I got politely chastised that people needed to make a living or it made their bosses happy. I empathize the making a living and growing a business part but again, that’s not the relationship I signed up for with you. And thankfully, Madame Director isn’t telling me that I need to be hawking the library on my Facebook account or even here on my blog. If I choose to talk about the library, that’s my choice and hopefully you know that means I’m excited about what’s going on–not that I’m just trying to drum up business.

Nothing lasts forever, even cleaned out closets, and, just as I’ll go shopping again, I’ll collect more subscriptions.  But for now I’m trying to hack the physical and digital back to useful or beautiful…

*I still aspire to a Beauty and the Beast type library someday. Or at least the whole wall of floor to ceiling custom built bookshelves like the Incredibly-Patient-Mother has….

**Monster Newsletters–it took 4 emails and they STILL screwed up what I wanted to unsubscribe from.

Happy Mother’s Day

Both the Incredibly Patient Mother and I have to work today, so any chat will have to wait until evening. 

In fiction, the majority of mothers seem either to be absent or various caricatures: vague, evil, ridiculous, too busy. If you only looked at our literature you might assume that the mothers of all of our teens were alcoholic drug addicts who had abandoned their children with a) a father who doesn’t love them b) a father who cares but is absent or c) no one leaving them to fend on their own while she pursues men, money, etc. It’s not new–one need look only at Grimm’s Fairytales or Shakespeare to see this is a long standing trend.

For what kind of drama would it be to have a good (alive) mother? Would you want to read a book where the character grew up knowing her mother loved her and always could depend that no matter what happened or what might have gone wrong, that she could go home? Would you want to read about a girl who faced betrayal from friends and other family members, but always had her mother’s shoulder to cry on, even as that mother was facing similar betrayal? Would it be so exciting if the mother was always there–not in an intrusive helicopter kind of way–but in a supportive way such that everyone knew that you’d best not hurt that daughter? Would you want to read about a daughter who spread her wings and flew on her own, but kept her mom’s cell number on speed dial–just in case she needed advice, an opinion, or an ear to rage about general frustrations of life?

Would it be exciting if this mother was a good woman, doing the best she could, raising her children without trying to define herself by finding a new man, designer shoes, or public office? If the mother was only a gifted cook, talented gardener, brilliant seamstress, excellent writer, and incredible listener–what a boring story that would be.

Fortunately for me, that’s only real life.

Happy Mother’s Day to my Incredibly-Patient-Mother.

Holiday in T-6 and Counting…..

I’m leaving for NYC/Egypt in six days!!

M and I have been discussing vague travel plans for two or three years and finally, with the help of Air France Holidays*, we’re headed off to Egypt.

I have a long weekend in New York on the way out, which is never a hardship. And then–camels, 70 degree temperatures, a totally different cultural experience and a new continent for me!

So far:

  • I got my visa, which is a full page in my otherwise unstamped passport. Obviously it’s been too many years since I traveled out of the country.
  • I have arranged for a cat sitter in residence. O met Gypsy last night and it was a smashing success. Gypsy might want to go home with her at the end of it…
  • The Incredibly-Patient-Mother hemmed a pair of jeans so I can wear them with flats for hiking about pyramids and such. All of my other jeans are hemmed to two inch heels, so this was an important consideration.
  • The Brunette has agreed to keep my winter coat and some heavier clothes at his house so I don’t have to worry about hauling a down coat there and back.
  • We’ve arranged for a tour guide/driver while we’re there, working off recommendations of a professor in MN who is a native Egyptian and regularly takes student groups.
  • Wound up five skeins of yarn and bought new 4″ knitting needles to take with me. They’re TINY, it looks like I’m knitting with colorful toothpicks.

Still to do:

  • Pack some clothes.
  • Load the mp3 player
  • Get a larger memory SD card
  • Figure out what to take to read. I’m thinking about my hard cover of Anathem by Neal Stephenson. Yes, it’s heavy but I’ll be able to lay it out flat on the tray table and knit while I’m reading. Also I’ll pack some paperback romances that can be left behind.

It’s unclear how much web time I’ll have once we get there. I expect to mostly be off the grid for five or six days. My cell phone won’t work and I’m not packing my laptop. So the pictures and trip updates will probably have to wait.

We’re not sure if we’ll get to go through full body scanners on the trip home. It’s the one thing I’m concerned about as we’re headed home because we won’t have a long layover in Paris.

*The prices are amazing!

Photo Break Friday

Since you suffered through my nearly 1700 word diatribe, I figured you’d bear with me for a couple of completely non-library related images.

Over Christmas, Gypsy got to watch “Cat TV” at the Incredibly-Patient-Mother’s house. There were a ton of birds hanging out in the backyard and three very healthy and acrobatic squirrels. I’m told this is the “skinny” one. Squirrel sandwich anyone?

On the way home she met AudioGirl’s Dinah. They spent the night hissing at each other.

But Gypsy has settled in nicely since we got home (she was happy to be back here). She found which chair gets the most sunlight for her battery recharging naps.

She’s located a wonderful supply of “celery” (that’s what it sounds like she’s eating).

She’s figured out if she gets in between me and the monitor that I HAVE to pay attention to her. (Yes, my desk is a disaster)

And she continues to be stunningly beautiful.

I’m having “Cat Warming” tomorrow night so she can meet some of my LPL coworkers. And I’ve arranged for the RefQueen’s daughter to cat sit for my next long trip.