Tag: sibling-the-younger

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.

This is a Song for My Generation

Over the past couple of years, I’ve commented about the focus on teens and a lack of library service to young adults–which by my definition is people over 18. 

Following the discussions I had with people at ALA last summer, I kept editing and working on a draft about what kind of programs to offer, what focuses I saw missing, and this general issue of a lack of outreach to a big part of our tax base.

This morning I had the chance to express my feelings on a broader level. I entered the LISNews Essay Competition with the following:  Don’t Forget About Us. 

I wrote that essay for myself, for the Blonde and the Brunette, for AudioGirl, My Friend the Lawyer, LibraryChic, Sibling-the-Elder and Younger, and the other friends who look at me like I’m crazy when I suggest that they use their local public library. It’s sad when my friends will call me–two time zones away–rather than reach out to their local resources. Not that I don’t appreciate the validation that they think I’ll be able to find the impossible, but they have free resources closer to home. 

A Tiny Taste of Spring

When I left the house at nearly 2 p.m., it was nearly 40 degrees.

These high 30 degree temperatures are ones where I’ll willingly go outside! And, since once never knows truly if within three days we’ll be faced with a foot of snow and nothing but grey skies, I headed for the walking trail.

Alongside a drainage ditch (I assume…it’s about 10′ high and concrete but there’s a little water draining into it from somewhere) and the train tracks, there’s a very nice walking trail. It’s not a picturesque forest trail, situated as it is between the backs of houses and the train, but there are trees and a little bit of grass on either side and it’s peaceful and it’s located just across the street, which is really most convenient.

Armed with earphones, my Rose-Hulman mug of tea (courtesy of Sibling-the-Younger) and-wonder of wonders–only a jacket, it was onward. The listening was Cast On, a knitting podcast by Brenda Dayne. I’m woefully behind on all but one of my pods but I’m starting to work through the near gigabyte of backlog.

Today was obviously the first day of really nice weather we’ve seen in six weeks. I’ve never seen the walking trail that busy. Not that we were tumbling over each other but there was a steady stream of couples, dog walkers, people out jogging, a pair of tweens–one with heely-shoes, and a biker. And, of course, me, headed generally south and geeking out on a knitting podcast.

It was a pleasant walk for all the navigating people. There were dips where water covered the walkway and I’m hoping the rain due for Monday will wash away some of the remainders the dogs have left behind. I acknowledged a couple of people, no one I knew, but each of us firmly determined to get outside today and enjoy a little bit of sunshine. There was a general sense of well-being and yes, we would get outside again and we were going to embrace these warmer temps!

Returning home an hour later, I had only one little complaint. I’d neglected to wear any sort of glove or mitt and the jacket I’d worn wasn’t especially meant to help keep my hands warm. So my hands were stiff with chill and even yet are a little sore. I’ve been pretty good about wearing heavy gloves this winter, though not even fleece seems to ward off the arctic temperatures we’ve had. Once some of the current projects are done, perhaps I’ll get to some mitts for myself.

Tomorrow looks to be another nice, albeit cool, day. Perhaps I’ll get out again. Spending time outside like this is such a necessity, especially as we’ve not hit March yet and I don’t think winter’s blown her last breath.

Facing a Fresh Landscape

There’s a fresh layer of snow dusting over the older snow outside for the new year. While, if at all possible, I have absolutely no intention of leaving the building today, it is a good time for a bit of reflection and planning.

Last year was in two pretty distinct sections:
Before August
After August

Before August was mostly focused here in La Crosse and on work. I orchestrated our Knitting in Public Day, started a kids knitting group, went to PLA, did summer reading in La Crosse, worked on my databases and went to Sibling-the-Younger’s graduation. I went on two different yarn diets. I made one flying trip out to New York and a couple down to Chicago to hang out with the Kickers and AudioGirl, but beyond that it was a pretty mellow spring.

And then August hit. My immediate supervisor retired, I flew to New York for a wedding shower and then flew out to Colorado to spend a week with the Tech Sergeant. I came back, drove to the Incredibly-Patient-Mother’s for a dress alteration, flew back to New York for a wedding, took on the care and feeding of the chapter book collection, went back to Chicago and caught up with a lot of people I see only sporadically. I started NaNoWriMo though I didn’t finish, got braces, and cut a foot off my hair. I flew to Atlanta and bought a tea and coffee pot, knitted until my hands nearly fell off, and went back to the Incredibly-Patient-Mother’s for a week at the holidays.

This year lies before me with a lot of potential. Certainly today is not all that different from yesterday but with a new January ahead of me, there seems to be many fresh options.

Goals for 2009:
1) Use things — I have tea, yarn, books…so many things that are here waiting for me. When they start feeling like clutter rather than things I enjoy, it’s time to use up or get rid of rather than hold on indefinitely.
2) Knit for myself. I talk a lot about knitting but almost always it’s for other people. Call it selfish but I want some warm woolly things for me.
3) Write for more than just my blog audience. I need a better collection of rejection emails and letters and possibly some acceptances too.
4) Scrapbook old papers. Not the incredibly matted, decorated, and beribboned, just the “here’s a paper, here’s something from junior high” with some notes on the side about why I kept it.
5) Survive braces….20 months to go.
6) Get my books into LibraryThing.

I wish you big and conquerable goals in 2009 and good health for the new year. With hugs, best wishes and a clean but already filling calendar,

Happy 2009
Abigail

Holiday Wool….

The more I knit, the more ideas I get of things I should knit for people for Christmas. So then I cast those projects on and think of more things. It’s a loop that is set to run right up until around 6 p.m. Christmas day–when I’ll probably have seen all of the people who are receiving Christmas knits. At which point I’ll have to start after-Christmas knits (maybe some stuff for me?) because a) I live in freezing Wisconsin and b) my hands will be so used to constantly knitting that I’ll have to work on something to maintain my sanity.

No, unfortunately I’m not joking. I knitted pretty much non-stop last year in December and by the time I finished the holiday projects I was quite literally unable to just sit and converse. Fortunately, the Incredibly Patient Mother had some knitting tucked away that I could work on to keep from just sitting in a very fidgety manner.

Things to note: I never want to knit another pair of gloves ever again in my entire life. Sibling-the-Younger requested a pair and while this was a first from a family member (knitted request), I don’t think I’ll be doing more of these any time soon. I can do a pair of fingerless mitts in about 8 hours. With fingers nearly doubles the time and I had 9 double pointed knitting needles in one glove at one point.

I am trying a new pattern for a number of gifts this year: Turn a Square by Jared Flood. Jared’s patterns have been received with high acclaim and this one is pretty addictive. Of course, I did have to come in this morning with one of the finished products and track down a couple of male coworkers to double check size but I certainly would recommend this pattern! The rest of the knitting world is doing the Noro scarf (again, Jared Flood) — I’m making hats. Hey, they only take 3-4 hours. Another coworker seemed stunned when I mentioned how long they take to make. Yes, there’s time involved, which is why I’m knitting mostly for people I am closely related to. But it’s four hours of time at home, with an audiobook or a movie or a friend on the phone. When I finally catch up with the Tech Sergeant, it’s good to be able to sit down and knit something moderately mindless while I’m hearing all the details.

So, that’s my plan for December. Me and the wool.